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 development and strengthening community. 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 100% bilingual staff, including four attorneys and several interns. 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:
Green Cards & Family Petitions: We are now offering screening for green card eligibility and representing people in the green card process, which is a pathway to citizenship. Dreamers are a top priority for this, especially now that DACA is ending.
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. We have recently started a rural U-Visa representation program in Taos, NM
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: This project focuses on children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected especially children being deported to the Northern Triangle of Central America. SIJS offers minors access to a Green Card and means-tested benefits.
Cibola County Immigration Prison: Collaborating with New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, our staff assists immigrant detainees in Cibola County with legal screening and political asylum cases.
Innovation Law Lab Border X Project: In collaboration with Steven Manning’s Innovation Law Lab Border X project, we will be representing every detainee at Cibola who qualifies for release on bond or parole as they await their political asylum cases. Beyond the benefits of immigrants released from this prison facility, this project will provide critical data and support for bringing litigation against ICE’s inhumane detention policies.
Weekly walk-in DACA legal clinics in Santa Fe and Albuquerque: Our flagship program providing direct representation for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases. In the three years we have operated these clinics we have represented over 1200 clients from 14 of NM's counties and 3 surrounding states. As a result of the current political situation and the cancellation of DACA, we have had to suspend these clinics. In the meantime, we are participating in the national fight to get legislative protection for Dreamers passed and gearing up to provide free legal services to anyone who might qualify in the event that new legislation passes.
Dreams on Wheels: Is a mobile legal services program bringing access to counsel to immigrant families in the rural corners of New Mexico and the Southwest where there are no immigration attorneys. This work brings critical legal representation to families in parts of the state where there is no immigration legal aid. After a successful pilot project in 2016, we are currently seeking funding to expand these services to more rural communities.
In addition to our legal services program, we conduct know your rights trainings to help immigrants understand how to stay safe during encounters with ICE, we teach professional development classes about immigration law and advocacy, and we work in extensive collaboration with schools, churches, and local agencies that serve immigrants. Our work is motivated by our conviction that immigrants make us stronger and helping provide tools from immigrants to thrive creates real impact in our own communities, in New Mexico, and throughout our entire nation.