MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRMPro Bono Program

2019 Pro Bono Report

2019 was the 20th year for the MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM PRO BONO PROGRAM. This year, we continued providing free legal services to immigrant women and children who are victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes, based on referrals from domestic violence shelters in Kansas and Missouri.

Pro Bono Publico Award

We were very proud to get to share more about our work with the larger legal community this year, since The Missouri Bar gave our firm the 2019 Pro Bono Publico award. See more about that here!

Business Immigration Attorneys Mira Mdivani, Danielle Atchison, Leyla McMullenand Mason Ellis worked with women and children referred by local domestic violence shelters and assistance programs to ensure that these immigrant survivors have access to high quality legal representation in obtaining and maintaining legal status in the United States to enable them to break the cycle of violence.

2019 Pro Bono numbers and services at a glance:

Lawyers

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Clients Served

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Countries Represented

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Mexico, China, Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Japan, and the Philippines

Offenses perpetrated against clients we served: Rape, Domestic Violence, Domestic Assault, Sexual Assault

Free Legal Services Provided to the Survivors:  I-360 petitions based on Domestic Violence Under the Violence Against Women Act, U Visa petitions, Applications for green cards, Naturalization for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Why We Do Pro Bono Work:

“We have freedom and power to help others-we have magic powers because we understand the law and we can change the lives of our pro bono clients from complete misery to freedom.” – Mira Mdivani

Services for Battered Women and Children under the Violence Against Women Act

In 2019, Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm provided free legal services to immigrant women survivors of domestic violence in applying for legal status in the United States under the Violence Against Women Act.

WHAT WE FILED ON BEHALF OF SURVIVORS:

  • I-360 VAWA petitions
  • I-485 Applications for Green cards based on VAWA petitions
  • I-131 Travel Documents
  • I-765 Employment Authorization Documents to enable our clients to work legally in the United States
  • I-751 petition to remove conditions on a Lawful Permanent Resident card after clients fled their homes with their abusers.

RESULTS:

  • One survivor received a 10-year green card allowing her to permanently reside in the United States free from fear her abuser
  • One survivor has a pending I-751 petition on file, allowing her to extend conditional permanent residency for many more months
  • Two survivors received work permits allowing them to create a stable life for themselves pending the outcome of their VAWA petitions and applications for green card.

U Visas and U-Based Green Cards for Victims of Violent Crimes

In 2019, we continued providing free legal services to women and children victims of crimes falling within the U Visa category. These individuals are eligible to apply for status in the United States if they are a victim of a qualifying crime and are helpful in prosecuting the perpetrator.

WHAT WE FILED ON BEHALF OF SURVIVORS:

  •  I-918 U Visa petitions and extensions, for three victims and their derivative children
  • I-192 Application for Advance Parole
  • I-485 Application to Adjust Status
  • I-131 Application for Travel Permission
  • I-765 Employment Authorization Documents for our clients to work legally in the United States for three clients, one with deferred action based on U Visa Cap

RESULTS:

  • We filed a U Visa-based Green Card for a survivor of domestic violence.
  • USCIS approved two U Visa Petitions, granting a survivor of domestic violence four years of eligibility to live and work in the United States and the opportunity to file for a green card
  • USCIS approved work permit applications for abused women placed in deferred action while their U Visa Petition is pending.

Naturalization

If possible, we provide ongoing services to our pro bono clients as they become eligible. Specifically, we will work for justice for victims to gain status in the United States, then permanent residency (green card), on to U.S. citizenship. This year, we were ecstatic to represent three of our clients in naturalization proceedings pro bono.

Replacement Applications

Our services range throughout the entire immigration process for our clients. We often jump into cases where the victim already has status but has had their evidence of status stolen, such as a green card. Stealing passports, green cards, etc. is often used by abusers to control their victims.

Some of this year’s feedback:

“I have no word to say thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for supporting me during this bad storm. Thank you for being so concerned about my case. Thank you is just not enough. ” –VAWA Client

“Thank you so much for your services, patience, and time.  We certainly would not have been able to do this without your help. I am sure we will work together moving forward in the future.” –Shelter Advocate

Community Outreach re. Domestic Violence and Immigrant Women & Children

  • Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm Attorneys continue to train lawyers and shelter advocates through outreach programs to educate the community about options for immigrant women and children victims of domestic violence.
  • They again visited a local domestic violence shelters to train advocates on how to recognize, triage, and work with attorneys on these cases.
  • They teach the subject at UMKC School of Law and provide continuing legal education (CLE) to practicing attorneys about the program and this area of the law.
  • In 2019, we expanded our training to Washburn Law in Topeka, Kansas, where Danielle Atchison guest taught a Domestic Violence class on working with immigration women and children survivors of domestic violence and other violent crimes.
  • Additionally, this year, Attorney Danielle Atchison also visited the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) in Jefferson City, Missouri to train advocates throughout the state on how to triage and prep these cases.

Special Thanks

We want to extend a special thank you to staff and leadership at Kansas City Metro area domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, including, among others, MOCSA, SAFEHOME, Hope House, New House, Synergy for partnering with us in bringing legal status to immigrant survivors. We also want to recognize the Missouri Coalition for Domestic and Sexual Violence for their support of many of the organizations with which we work, as well as their ongoing advocacy and support of our program.  We also want to thank the U.S. companies, who are our corporate immigration clients, for doing business with our firm. We thank you for enabling our pro bono work.

 It Takes a Village, Want to Help?

If the situation calls for some immigration assistance outside the scope of our ability, we are very grateful to have colleagues all over Kansas and Missouri who are willing to help. If you are interested, in helping, please email DAtchison@uslegalimmigration.com.

MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM, LLC

Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm

7007 College Blvd, Suite 460

Overland Park, KS 66211

913.317.6200

(c) Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm, LLC 2004 - 2020