Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Programs
NWIRP serves the community through direct legal services, advocacy and education, and impact litigation.
NWIRP's critical legal services help immigrants navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system so they can apply for asylum or other forms of relief. The legal services we provide include:
- Asylum: We protect human rights by representing individuals who face persecution in their home countries.
- Child Services: We help vulnerable children obtain protection under our immigration laws.
- Domestic Violence: We assist immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other violent crimes in gaining lawful status in the U.S.
- Family Unity: We promote family unity and stability by assisting with family visa applications.
- Citizenship: We assist immigrants, many of whom are elderly and/or persons with disabilities, obtain U.S. citizenship.
- Legal Orientation: We provide legal orientation sessions to all immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
- Removal Defense: We offer representation in immigration court to those facing deportation.
- Through advocacy and education, we provide critical immigration-related advice and information to immigrants, other community members, and a large network of service providers and attorneys. We also advocate for policies that will empower the immigrant community. Our impact litigation unit represents immigrants in the federal courts to impact immigration law and policy on a national level.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Muktar, a 19-year-old client who was recently granted asylum thanks to NWIRP's services shares his story:
I left Somalia for a lot of reasons. My father, my three brothers, my uncle were all killed. I didn't feel safe. There was no justice, a lot of corruption. In 2010 I came to the United States. I made my way through Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico before getting to the U.S.
Those first 24 hours here were the hardest of my life. We were put in a very cold room. All of our possessions were taken away. From California, we were sent to immigration detention in Tacoma, WA. That’s where I spent the next four months. That’s where I met NWIRP.
We looked forward to their visits. They tried to get the Somali community in this city together for us. They helped prepare our asylum cases. They made sure I got out of there. Their work, to be honest, was extraordinary. NWIRP is about helping people who need help. I really thank you guys. It helped knowing people cared.
Now that I'm here, ...I want to work in the medical field, doing something other people can benefit from.
One of the greatest ongoing challenges NWIRP faces is obtaining adequate resources to meet the great demand for our work. NWIRP receives more than 1,500 calls for assistance each week and we are able to provide direct legal services and advice to more than 10,000 people each year. However, with budget cuts at local, state and national levels, resources dwindle while need increases.