Immigrant Legal Center, an affiliate of the Justice For Our Neighbors Network, is a nonprofit organization providing high-quality legal services, education, and advocacy to low-income immigrant individuals and families in Nebraska and western Iowa. We serve immigrants of all faiths, races, abilities and ages, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable--victims of domestic violence, children who have been abused or abandoned, and people who would be persecuted in their own country.
With an estimated 45,000 unauthorized immigrants living in Nebraska who may be eligible for immigration relief, we believe collaboration is vital to serving the increasing demand for immigration legal services. Host collaborations at Latino Center of the Midlands, Completely Kids, Siena Francis House and Heartland Family Service in Council Bluffs allow us to provide services to immigrants in the locations they already frequent. The protection our legal support provides is often the difference between a person's safety, access to medical assistance, housing and basic services -- or going without.

We are actively coordinating efforts to respond to the increased demand for immigration legal services in the states of Nebraska and southwest Iowa. Strategic planning in 2014 allowed us to prepare for the surge of undocumented children who crossed into the United States, and for the unmet legal needs of low-income immigrants.
Immigrant Legal Center provides high-quality legal services to the most vulnerable in our midst. Rosa, at seven years old, was abandoned at a hospital in Guatemala because her destitute mother could not give proper care to a child with kidney failure. In 2013, Rosa entered the U.S. without inspection. The trip nearly took her life; she had to be taken to the hospital immediately. In the U.S. she received life-saving care.

Pursuing legal status, ILC staff began contacting officials within USCIS to pursue legal status for Rosa. This young girl's life hinged on whether or not she would be granted "parole in place," which would allow her to remain in the U.S. despite her manner of entry. Although this is an extraordinary remedy, it appeared to be the only option to save her life. Fortunately, USCIS officials were moved by this young girl's plight and agreed to approve her request.

ILC then assisted her in filing her application to adjust status to that of a legal permanent resident, which was granted shortly thereafter. However, Rosa had one more hurdle to overcome in order to obtain U.S. citizenship. Following Rosa's victory, we assisted her father in becoming a U.S. citizen. When he naturalized, Rosa automatically acquired citizenship as well.

It's been a long and difficult process, but the family is doing well. Rosa's parents tell us they are overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that their little girl has been given a second chance at life.