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Texas Bar Foundation Awards Grant to Memorial Assistance Ministries
HOUSTON, TX – December 9 – Qualified Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) clients may receive free representation through its Immigration Legal Services Program thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. The clients who qualify for humanitarian-based petitions fall at or below 150% of the US Federal Poverty Guidelines.
MAM’s Immigration Legal Services Program provides information, education, and legal assistance on a variety of matters, including family-based petitions, renewal of lawful permanent resident cards, naturalization/citizenship applications, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and adjustment of status for refugees, Cubans, and asylees. The program also helps with U Visas for crime victims who have helped in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity, and VAWAs for victims of domestic violence by a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. Information sessions are hosted twice each week and include a free one-on-one consultation with the immigration staff attorney.
“The undocumented are especially vulnerable to crimes like domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. We have seen firsthand how much of an impact an approval of a U visa or VAWA can make,” said Raquel Barajas, MAM’s Staff Attorney. “Through this grant, we will not only represent these individuals but better their lives.”
MAM’s Immigration Legal Services Program began in 2013, and provides low-cost services to the growing immigrant population in northwest Houston. What began as a two-year pilot project, in collaboration with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, quickly grew to become the primary low-cost immigration legal services program in our service area. In early 2015, MAM hired its own immigration staff attorney and legal caseworker, establishing an independently managed Immigration Legal Services Program. Since then, MAM has provided immigration legal services to victims at reduced cost. Last year, MAM’s Immigration Legal Services Program served 480 clients, conducted 528 consultations, and held 73 weekly informational sessions in both English and Spanish, with 608 attendees.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation. The grant awarded to MAM is specifically for humanitarian-based petitions (U Visas and VAWA), including those in removal proceedings.
MAM was created in 1983 by the local faith community when Spring Branch families were no longer able to provide stable homes for their families in the midst of the economic recession of the early 1980s. For more than 30 years, MAM has continued to serve the Northwest Houston area and continue its mission to ensure families have the means to meet their basic needs. MAM offers programs to enable long-term financial self-sufficiency, assure children an improved school experience, and facilitate client access to other support networks. For more information about MAM or the Immigration Legal Services Program, please visit www.maministries.org/legal.