Yesica knew she was in a bad relationship. Her boyfriend had isolated her from nearly everyone she cared about and often threatened her, her family, and her friends. The violence was escalating and, one night, he sexually assaulted her. It was then that she knew she had to leave for good.
During their last violent encounter, as she tried to escape her boyfriend’s drunken rage, the police were called. Her boyfriend was arrested and Yesica and her daughter were taken to a local shelter. The following week, Yesica obtained a lifetime protective order from the County Attorney’s office.
While she stayed at the shelter, advocates put her in touch with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) for help with her legal issues. TRLA helped Yesica obtain a U-VISA for herself and a daughter that was still living in Mexico. Throughout this time she continued to take advantage of the resources available at the shelter and even obtained a license to provide child care. She applied for a job with a local daycare center and was proud that she was rebuilding her life.
But Yesica was unaware that Child Protective Services had placed her on their child abuse registry due to the events surrounding her boyfriend’s arrest. This meant that she would not be able to get a job with a daycare provider. Yesica found out that she had time to appeal the issue and clear her name so she once again turned to TRLA for help.
TRLA worked with Yesica to prepare for the appeal hearing and arranged for witness testimony that would speak to the difficulties that victims of domestic violence have in leaving their abusers. TRLA attorneys prepared to show that Yesica was doing everything she could to protect her family and build a stable life. And when TRLA advocates spoke with representatives from CPS about Yesica’s situation, CPS agreed to dismiss the case and remove Yesica from the child abuse registry before the hearing had a chance to start.
Today Yesica and her two daughters continue to live and thrive in central Texas. Yesica hopes to one day open her own daycare facility.
Yesica (right) thanks one of the TRLA attorneys who has helped her rebuild her life.
The sudden influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America has created a need for dedicated volunteers who can help with their immigration cases, including actions filed in state court. In response to inquiries from private attorneys looking for information on how they can help, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has developed a Pro Bono Immigration Referral Network to connect attorneys with volunteer opportunities.
TRLA primarily assists with T (Trafficking) and U (Victims of Crimes) Visas and we are always looking for resources for those cases. If your practice involves other forms of relief, please consider signing up and we will forward your information to the appropriate immigration legal services provider. Continue reading
TRLA’s Stella Hernandez (right) and Danielle Gonzalez present awards to this year’s honorees.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has honored twelve Texas attorneys for their commitment to providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The attorneys were recognized at TRLA’s 14th Annual Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Cross-Training Conference in San Antonio, The three-day conference brings together legal aid attorneys and staff from Texas domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers to collaborate on best practices to help victims of violence. The attorneys received their awards at the conference’s closing luncheon on August 7th. Continue reading
Domestic violence survivor Yesica (right) thanks TRLA attorney Maricarmen Garza for helping her leave her abuser.
Last week week legal aid attorneys joined with advocates from Texas domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers for the 14th Annual Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Cross-Training Conference in San Antonio.
The advocates were welcomed to San Antonio by TRLA Executive Director David Hall and conference director Maricarmen Garza. Throughout the conference advocates heard presentations from state experts on issues including legislative advocacy, public housing, international child abduction, consumer advocacy, child support, and working with Child Protective Services. Continue reading
Donald was homeless, disabled, and trying to get an apartment through housing assistance. In order to apply for this program, he needed to show proof of his identity. But Donald was facing a problem. He had been in the foster care system until he was about six years old and placed with his aunt and uncle. Donald thought that his aunt and uncle had legally adopted him but all of his legal documents listed his last name at birth, not the last name he had been going by since his adoption. Without the right documents with the right name, Donald couldn’t apply for assistance.
Not knowing what to do, Donald turned to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid for help. Continue reading
Volunteers with the Hidalgo County CJP during 2013 Pro Bono Week
Two of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)’s local pro bono programs will receive the Pro Bono Service Award from the State Bar of Texas in recognition of being self-sustaining programs that motivate private attorneys to provide pro bono services to the poor. Continue reading
Leticia’s car had broken down while she was driving along a busy highway so she took it to a local mechanic to be fixed. She agreed to a lengthy list of repairs the mechanic said she needed and picked up the car a week later. But after a few days, the car started having problems again.
Leticia took her car back to the mechanic only to be told that her car didn’t have any oil and the transmission needed to be rebuilt. She was upset. She had just had the oil changed and the mechanic had never told her about any oil or transmission issues before. She also didn’t have any more money to put towards new repairs. Continue reading