Human Rights First Launches Houston Office to Provide Legal Services to Asylum Seekers
Houston, TX – Human Rights First today officially opened its new office in Houston, Texas that will provide pro bono legal representation to refugees seeking asylum in the Houston area. The organization’s award-winning program pairs attorneys with refugees who are forced to flee their countries due to discrimination, persecution, or violence, helping them navigate the complicated immigration court system.
“I am thrilled that Human Rights First is expanding to Houston, a truly international city that is home to thousands of refugees seeking safety and freedom from persecution,” said Human Rights First’s President and CEO Elisa Massimino, a Texas native. “We look forward to partnering with the Houston area legal community to provide these men, women and children with hope for a better future.”
More than 30 percent of Houston’s population consists of immigrants, many of whom are asylum seekers. In 2013 alone, nearly 1,000 people living in Houston sought asylum through the United States legal system, most without legal representation. Human Rights First’s new Houston office will work to ensure that local refugees have a chance to access counsel who can help them to navigate the complex U.S. asylum system and gain American protection from persecution and violence in their home countries.
For 35 years, Human Rights First has connected unrepresented asylum seekers with pro bono attorneys. The organization’s pro bono asylum program utilizes a distinct model in which attorneys are recruited, trained and mentored by Human Rights First’s expert legal team. They are then paired with asylum clients who are in need of representation as they navigate their way through the United States’ cumbersome asylum system.
Human Rights First’s Houston office is located at the South Texas College of Law.