Meet Our Summer 2019 Interns!

Kanfing Camara worked with Director of Immigrant Services Rachel Van Tyle in the Immigrant Justice Program (IJP) during her internship. She helped the IJP staff by filling out various immigration applications and completing other administrative work. Of her experience, she says, “I learned a lot about different immigration applications, and which forms handle what sort of issues, from getting a work visa to obtaining a green card. I became more aware of the actual work that immigration lawyers do, and how to be personable to clients.” Her favorite part was hearing the stories of the clients, where they came from, and why they came to the United States. She says, “I really liked seeing how they lit up when they were told that their case would be picked up by the Clinic.” This fall, Kanfing is heading into her last year of undergrad at Purdue University.

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There is Room at the Table: A Message from Staff Attorney Annie Anderson

Though the intricacies of the immigration system are vast, one basic statement remains true: There is nowhere for the average immigrant to get in line and simply receive their papers. That is not an option. For our clients who have suffered abuse and violence, that is still not an option.  

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Immigrant Justice Modest Means Program

Director of Immigrant Services Rachel Van Tyle says, “Modest Means is a legal phrase that means lower cost services. Some may call it ‘low bono’ as opposed to pro bono. It means that there is usually a flat fee for a case.” And while the flat fee depends on the case type, the cost remains affordable.

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For You Yourselves Were Foreigners: A Message from Director of Immigrant Services Rachel Van Tyle

Immigration has become the signature political issue of the last few years. So often, you hear people calling for reforms of the system, but we cannot possibly know where we should go without understanding where we have been.

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Civil Legal Needs: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

In the latest Civil Legal Needs Study commissioned by the Indiana Bar Foundation, there is only 1 attorney available for every 10,000 low-income Hoosiers. There are 20 for all others. Moreover, 96% of the legal issues faced by the poor go unrepresented by an attorney.

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Erasing the Past: An Expungement Client Story

When Stan was only 19-years-old, a group of guys he hung out with one night got picked up for breaking into a building. These men—who already had cases pending and who were in search of lighter sentences—claimed that Stan was with them during the break-in. Scared, but lacking the financial resources to effectively defend against the charges, Stan took the first deal that was offered to him.

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Meet Ft. Wayne Project GRACE Attorney Jordan Huttenlocker

As a young girl, Jordan Huttenlocker dreamed of being a veterinarian. Over the years, however, her ambitions shifted, and she eventually became a lawyer, practicing medical malpractice defense. For a time, this was the perfect marriage of her interests. But after eight years of working as a full-time attorney at a large firm in Chicago, Jordan and her husband decided to move back to Ft. Wayne. Jordan took a step back from her career to focus on raising their two small children. Soon, however, she sought part-time employment again. “I realized I really did miss practicing law,” she says.

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Second Chances: A Message from Expungement Help Desk Manager Julie Mennel

The words, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way!” are stenciled on the far office wall of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic’s Expungement Help Desk. These words also comprise a message we try to convey to those who step through our doors in the basement of the City County Building. Our visitors are ready to leave their past behind in search of a second chance. Perhaps they are unable to find a good job or a nice apartment to call home. Or perhaps they are prevented from seeking educational opportunities for career and life advancement.

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Meet Spanish Team Lead Volunteer Katie Bailey!

After studying in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries for several years, Katie Bailey returned to Indiana knowing one thing: She wanted to meet and support her immigrant neighbors living in the Indianapolis community. With prior experience translating and interpreting for legal issues through an internship, Katie sought out an organization to utilize her many skills. Soon, she began to volunteer for Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. 

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Meet Volunteer Attorney Phil Zimmerly

Waiting with the others in court that morning, Phil was fascinated by the eclectic mix of people and their reasons for being there. Everyone had a story. There were those who were divorced, wanting to rid themselves of the name they had taken on as a newlywed. There were children who were being adopted, now bestowed with new names to match their new family. Phil marveled at the ceremony and power as the judge declared for each person, “You will forever be known as—” before christening them anew. “It felt like a religious moment,” Phil says to me now.

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Meet Our Volunteer Prayer Team!

Every Wednesday morning at our main office, new potential clients have an opportunity to speak to an attorney about a pressing immigration or tax issue. While they sit in the waiting room, if they choose, they can fill out a prayer request card, which is then given to our volunteer prayer team. This team is currently comprised of two people: April Ervin and Grant Sellers.

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Giving Back: A Message from Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Bloxsome

In 1992, Dr. Frank Kik, Senior Pastor at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, challenged the congregation to be “a force for Christ in the heart of the city.” In response to this challenge, a handful of volunteers established the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. This small but mighty team of passionate volunteers committed to use their time, talents, and treasures to provide those living in the neighborhood with access to quality legal services.

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