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Refugees

Within the first week of President Trump's administration, the plight of refugees grabbed national attention. The Clearinghouse has covered immigration and poverty law issues for decades. This collection from our Clearinghouse Review archive highlights those articles touching on the legal needs of refugees in particular. The articles cover state programs to replace SSI for elderly and disabled refugees, community lawyering in refugee communities, detained immigrant children, domestic violence and refugees, how Legal Services Corporation restrictions affect refugee representation, and refugee eligibility for public benefit programs for people with disabilities.

Race-Conscious Community Lawyering

Practicing Outside the Box

By Tammi Wong

When developing a race-conscious practice while working with nonwhite client communities, attorneys should consider adopting a community-laywering approach to their advocacy. Through collaboration, attorneys can help diverse population groups build their own resources and capacities to advance their own interests in a self-directed manner. A recent project with the Hmong community in California illustrates how community lawyering can be the best way for an advocate to provide legal assistance in a culturally competent manner.

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Immigrants with Disabilities

Eligibility for Federal Benefit Programs

By Tanya Broder

The 1996 welfare reform law largely governs immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits. While the law is especially harsh for immigrants who have disabilities, it gives states discretion to offer benefits to certain categories of immigrants. The law created new categories of “qualified” and “not qualified” immigrants, but, due to the complexity of immigration statutes, “qualified” immigrants are ineligible for certain benefits while even “not qualified” immigrants are eligible for others.

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Immigration Options for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence

By Julie E. Dinnerstein

Immigration issues are a key aspect of working with noncitizen victims of domestic violence. Knowing the common barriers that immigrant victims fleeing domestic violence face, the various immigration statuses, and possible immigration law remedies will put the advocate in the best position to serve immigrant clients.

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Illinois's New SSI Replacement Program for Refugees and Asylees

An Advocacy Success Story

By Daniel Lesser

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act were particularly harsh for legal immigrants. In 2003 refugees and asylees who had been unable to complete the naturalization process and become U.S. citizens began to lose their Supplemental Security Income benefits. Illinois advocates crafted a state-funded state program to replace the federal benefit this group lost.

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Detained Immigrant Children

The Legacy of Jenny Flores

By Katina Ancar

A child's journey from El Salvador to the United States led to a lawsuit revealing unconstitutional detention policies by the immigration agency and improving the rights of detained immigrant children. However, advocacy is needed to ensure that the Flores v. Meese settlement terms are incorporated into the Unaccompanied Alien Child Act of 2004 and that detained immigrant children's rights are not trampled upon by the new Department of Homeland Security.

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Overview of Immigration and the Law

By Sally Kinoshita

Immigration rights are in a state of change as a result of the newly created Department of Homeland Security. The legal impact of the federal agency reorganization remains uncertain. Who is an admissible alien? Who is removable? What legal protection provisions remain under the Immigration and Naturalization Act?

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Representing Immigrants

What Do LSC Regulations Allow?

By Sara Campos

Immigrant populations around the country continue to grow, and immigrants are more likely than the native-born population to be poor. This disproportionate poverty makes immigrants more likely than others to be financially eligible for legal services. Regulations of the Legal Services Corporation detail when the programs receiving its funding may represent immigrants. Particular rules apply to the representation of citizens and nationals, lawful permanent residents, refugees, and victims of domestic violence.

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