Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
The Houston metropolitan area has one of the highest concentrations and fastest-growing populations of immigrants and refugees in the country. Despite their significant contributions to the state and local economy in Texas, immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented, face considerable challenges. Many immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship or deferred action programs, but cost, educational gaps and lack of high-quality legal services prevent them from seizing these opportunities. Local service providers currently serve only 20 percent of low-income clients who are eligible for immigration services.
In 2013, local organizations working with immigrant communities came together to form the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC or the Collaborative) to tackle issues facing immigrant communities in the Houston region. The mission of the Collaborative is to create a coordinated network of effective and efficient services to assist low-income immigrants access the information and legal representation that allows them to make choices in their own best interest.
The HILSC brings together Houston’s best and brightest non-profit and legal minds to:
- Increase the capacity of immigration legal services providers and increase the number of such providers equipped to provide high-quality, low-cost services to immigrants.
- Improve and streamline immigrants’ ability to access existing social and legal services.
- Be a source of timely and accurate information for both stakeholder groups and potential clients of immigration service providers.
- Help qualified undocumented children and adults achieve legal status through deferred action programs:Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
- Develop new funding sources for immigration service providers.
Join the Collaborative’s network
If you are an immigration legal service provider seeking information about the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC), please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Collaborative members meet quarterly – meeting information and other resources are shared using the Collaborative’s listserv.
The Community Plan
Over the past year, Collaborative members have worked together to identify specific needs and gaps in the field, as well as relevant best practices and lessons learned from other states and major metropolitan areas with large immigrant populations. As a result, a community-wide plan was developed to address the current and future needs of Houston’s immigrants and refugees, along with the organizations that serve them.