Immigration Legal Services

Immigration Legal Services (ILS)

ILS is a nonprofit law program providing low-cost consultations and legal representation to immigrants and refugees throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. We also educate the public, the immigrant community, and the organizations who serve them to promote justice for all newcomers and support conditions for their full participation in American society.

Founded in 1996, ILS focuses on family reunification and assistance to the most vulnerable immigrants and refugees, including survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Our services include the following:

  • Family-based applications and visas
  • Permanent residency (Green Card)
  • Naturalization and citizenship
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse (VAWA)
  • Visa for crime victims (U Visa)
  • Survivors of human trafficking (T Visa)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Asylum
  • Other types of assistance on a case-by-case basis

Who Are Our Clients? 

  • The child who was abused by his parents and abandoned to foster care.
  • The mother who has been feeding her children from 3,000 miles away, but hasn’t been able to hug them in 10 years.
  • The U. S. citizen who wants to bring his wife or child to join him after years spent separated by thousands of miles.
  • The young woman who has finally managed to escape the trafficker who has been selling her since middle school.
  • The woman whose abusive U.S. citizen husband has been promising to “apply for her papers” for over a decade.
  • The person who fled a violent war in their home country that destroyed their home and scattered everyone they know across the world.
  • The woman and her children who live in an isolated community in rural Oregon and are being subjected to domestic or sexual violence .
  • The religious worker who is persecuted for her beliefs.
  • The student who has lived in Oregon since he was 6 months old, has never spoken any language except English, and found out that he was undocumented for the first time when he tried to apply for college.
  • The victim of a violent crime who overcame his fear of the police to help prosecute his attacker.
  • The refugee who wants to apply for her green card, citizenship, or bring her husband from her country.

Our clients are people from all over the world: Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the United States.

All that matters to us is that our clients are people.

John Herrera | Director, Immigration Legal Services

John Herrera first encountered Catholic Charities of Oregon as an asylum client following his work in the legal field in Colombia. After receiving legal services, John joined our mission as an employee, and began his service to the Oregon community as a legal assistant in the Immigration Legal Services office. Shortly after, John became a BIA Accredited Representative. Today, John serves as Program Director of Immigration Legal Services. John has more than a decade of service with Catholic Charities and has touched the lives of more than a thousand individuals. John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Catholic Charities, focusing on family reunification and assistance to the most vulnerable immigrant populations, including survivors of domestic violence, crime victims, refugees, and those who are in desperate need of defense in deportation proceedings. John serves with great passion and leadership in service of our brothers and sisters in need.

Sarah Purce | Lead Attorney & Rural Program Coordinator, Immigration Legal Services

Sarah Purce is the Lead Attorney and Rural Program Coordinator for Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services. Sarah has been working as an immigration attorney since 2009. Her work focuses primarily on representing immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Sarah received her undergraduate degree from Western Washington University and her Juris Doctorate from American University, Washington College of Law. Sarah is a member of the Washington State Bar Association. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the chair of the Immigrant Crime Victims’ Rights Subcommittee. 

Contact Us

To learn more about the services of Immigration Legal Services or to enroll in services, please contact us:

Phone: (503) 542-2855

Email: Click here (Select Immigration Legal Services)

Give to Immigration Legal Services

Without the generosity of donors, Catholic Charities would not be able to support the life-changing services offered by ILS. The support of our community is instrumental in the success of all of our clients. Thank you for investing in this important work!

To make a gift to Immigration Legal Services by mail, send your check to the following address:

Catholic Charities
Attention: Development
2740 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97202

Click below to make an online gift.

october, 2017

Filter Events

13oct5:30 pm8:30 pmFeaturedAmerican Voices – Immigrants’ Influence on the ArtsJoin the Oregon Symphony and Catholic Charities as we explore and celebrate the role immigrants have played – and continue to play – in shaping American art.

17oct6:00 pm9:00 pmVolunteer Opportunity: Immigrant Family Safety Preparedness Workshop

19oct5:00 pm9:00 pm2017 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Gala