Hayley Garscia, Immigration Legal Assistance Project (ILAP) volunteer

“My first day at the Project, I nervously began doing consultations with clients. Although I was inexperienced, I soon learned the importance of asking the right questions to retrieve material facts. I knew my work at the Project was important because I witnessed a client’s demeanor change instantaneously upon hearing that we could help him,” said Hayley Garscia, Immigration Legal Assistance Project (ILAP) volunteer. Hayley is a new associate attorney at Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP. During her first year at Loyola Law School, she spent her summer volunteering with ILAP.

Hayley Garscia

“On an early Monday morning, the client walked into our office and I was asked to give him a consultation. He seemed anxious as he began telling me his story. He had come into the United States with a visitor visa, which expired 10 years prior. He had established his entire life in California including his home, his relationship, and his own business. Our client was going to get married and with his business as his only income, he could not afford to be away from his home.

He had heard many rumors that he would have to leave the United States in order to process his green card. With the help of ILAP’s Directing Attorney Mary Mucha, I eased his mind by informing him of the immigration law that allowed an individual who entered the United States with a valid visa to remain here while his marriage petition is being filed and processed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Our client then expressed that he did not know how to fill out the immigration forms and that he did not have money to hire an attorney. Again, he exhaled a sigh of relief upon hearing that we could help him with all the immigration forms for a minimal cost.

This experience is only one of the many consultations that have shown me the importance of the project’s work. Many clients are misinformed or of limited economic means and it is refreshing and exhilarating to familiarize them with the applicable immigration law and to help them find the most efficient path to keep their family together.”

The LACBA Immigration Legal Assistance Project is the only program in Los Angeles that offers a broad based immigration legal services practice focusing on all areas of immigration law and procedures.

To learn more about the project and how you can help, please contact Mary Mucha at mmucha@lacba.org