The Santa Fe Dreamers Project is a non-profit organization that provides free legal representation to immigrant youth and their family members, with a focus on economic & community development. Santa Fe Dreamers Project is committed to representing every qualified immigrant who walks through our doors. We make every effort to understand the barriers that normally prevent immigrant families in our community from accessing legal representation and design our services with those barriers in mind.
The Dreamers Project has a fully bilingual staff, including three attorneys, a legal intern and a legal fellow. All of our legal services are provided completely free of charge and our funding comes primarily from grants, fellowships, foundations, and individual donations. We have a growing number of legal service projects including:
- Our flagship program: a weekly walk-in legal clinic providing direct representation for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cases in Santa Fe. In the three years we have operated this clinic we have served over 800 clients from 14 of NM's counties and 3 surrounding states. The clinic is hosted at St. Bedes church every Friday afternoon.
- ABQ Legal Clinic. A weekly walk in legal clinic providing direct representation to DACA clients in Albuquerque and the surrounding communities, hosted every Monday at Casa de Salud in the South Valley.
- U-Visa Services: Representing clients who qualify for the U-Visa, a special program for survivors of violence. This project is part of a community health initiative targeting victims of domestic violence in partnership with community agencies across Santa Fe.
- Familias Seguras: A deportation defense project focusing on children being deported to the Northern Triangle of Central America. We accept a growing number of immigration cases that support family unity, focusing primarily on humanitarian relief for families affected by the violent refugee crisis in Central America (Special Immigrant Juvenile, Political Asylum). We participate in the CARA Pro Bono Project, a national project committed to representing Central American Families detained on our border and shutting down the inhumane practice of Family Detention in the United States.
- PALS Program: A partner project with New Mexico Immigrant Law Center to bring legal orientation and legal support to immigrants and asylum seekers detained at the Cibola County Detention Facility in Milan NM. A 1,200 bed facility, Cibola County mostly holds adult male asylum seekers but is also home to the "trans-pod" for transgender women. Attorneys and volunteers go to Milan every Tuesday and Thursday to meet with detainees and orient them to their legal rights and court procedures, screen them for relief options, and provide basic legal support. We have the resources to provide representation to a very small percentage of detainees we encounter.
- Dreams on Wheels: A mobile DACA clinic program that we piloted in 2016 to provide direct representation for DACA cases for Dreamers in the rural communities of Farmington and Roswell, NM through partnerships with community organizers and advocacy organizations. After a successful pilot project, this project is currently on hold while we address more immediate immigrant detention and political asylum needs in the wake of the 2016 election. This work brings critical legal representation to families in parts of the state where there is no immigration legal aid and we hope to be able to expand services to more rural communities in 2017.
We also provide weekly attorney office hours at Santa Fe area public schools, mentor high school students interested in careers in law, provide training to non-profit groups about immigration law, and actively participate in partnerships with other groups dedicated to serving New Mexico's immigrant community. We believe in integrated community services and breaking down barriers to legal representation.