NIJC's LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative provides legal services to low-income immigrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) and those who are living with HIV.
Who We Can Help
- Asylum Seekers: If you were harmed or fear harm in your home country based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV positive status, you may be able to apply for protection in the United States.
- Bi-National Same Sex Couples: Now that the United States Supreme Court has declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, United States citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their foreign national spouses for permanent residence in the United States. But even now, there are limitations to this process. Please read our FAQs .
- Survivors of Violent Crimes: If you have been the victim of a serious crime in the United States, and if you reported that crime to the police, you may be eligible for protection.
- LGBT Immigrant Detainees: If you or someone you know is detained by immigration, no matter where in the country the detention center is located, we can provide information and assistance that will the detainee avoid deportation. Our Asylum Documentation Project will send any detained person a packet of information that he or she can submit to the immigration court in support of a request for asylum.
- Individuals Seeking Appeals: We also represent individuals who lost their cases before an immigration judge and are seeking help with an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals or to any of the United States Courts of Appeals. If you would like help with an appeal, please note that the process is very time sensitive. Therefore, the best way for you to request assistance is by phone or by sending your case materials to us by email.
Please note the following limitations on our services:
- Income: NIJC serves low-income immigrants. If your income exceeds our guidelines, we will refer you to a private attorney in your region.
- Geography: Our direct representation work is limited to the Midwest, mostly those appearing before the Chicago immigration courts. This limitation does not apply to detained individuals or those seeking assistance with an appeal.
- Fees: In most cases, we charge a fee for case screening. Once we accept your case, the cost depends on the kind of services you need and your ability to pay (asylum representation is free). If you are concerned that you will be unable to pay for our services, you can raise those concerns during your initial consultation.