DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The number of immigrants is growing across the Miami Valley. Legal service needs are also in high demand for immigrants that need assistance.
Immigrant Connection Dayton is opening up next week to help immigrants who can not afford legal services.
Dayton has been a certified friendly city, more commonly known as a Welcome City, to immigrants since 2017. Since the recognition began, the immigrant population in Dayton has been on the rise.
Due to the growing population rates and the need to maintain legal status, the key still remains to obtain quality jobs.
The Miami Valley has become a safe haven for those wanting a better life for themselves and their families. More than 25,000 immigrants call Montgomery County home.
“Wonderful human beings that are doing exactly what we would do if they, if, if, we had lived where they lived,” said Tom Thompson, executive director, Valen Solutions.
For immigrants to have a better life in the U.S, their status to lawfully be in the country or obtain citizenship is a complicated process. When the process is not in a language they are familiar with, it makes the process even more difficult.
“You and I will probably have trouble filling out all the legal forms, etc., if we were doing it ourselves,” Steve Saltar, site Director, Immigration Connection Dayton. “Doing it another language makes it that much harder.”
Many people are stuck in the middle when it comes to legal services. Some immigrants don’t qualify for the free legal services, but can’t afford the high legal fees out of their own pocket.
The Dayton area has been in need of a company to help those in thee middle for the last year, which is where Immigrant Connection Dayton comes in. The organization operates in partnership with Valens Solutions, a non-profit organization.
“When all immigrants who can thrive in a community, the entire community thrives. And so this is our way of assisting by giving them access to low cost, high quality immigration, legal services,” said Saltar.
The legal clinic will understand a case and see if a path forward is possible under the law. If so, they will represent them and have the immigrants collect information needed for their case. At the end of the process, they will file for them on their behalf.
“When you see another human being that really, really needs help, you walk alongside that person,” said Thompson.
Immigrant Connection Dayton has already had their first clients. They will be open for service only on Tuesday and Wednesday to begin with. Depending on demand, it could change.