Restoration Immigration Legal Aid


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Watch this video to hear a RILA family’s story. Through RILA’s work, in February 2018, this family was granted asylum, and they look forward with hope to their future, free from fear.

Find us on Instagram: @restorationimmigrationlegalaid

Vision


Compelled by God’s love and rooted in faith, RILA seeks to be a haven for immigrant families by honoring the dignity and worth of all people and providing advocacy with compassion.

Mission


RILA seeks to holistically support immigrants in our community by providing excellent, pro bono immigration legal assistance to those who are most vulnerable and with the fewest resources.

What Does RILA Do?


  • Represent asylum seekers in Immigration Court and the Asylum Office
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
  • Work Authorizations
  • Provide screenings to help immigrant families better understand their individual situations and the immigration benefits for which they may be eligible

How Does RILA Work?


RILA is a volunteer-based, non-profit program that operates within Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA. RILA holds bi-monthly, evening clinics in which immigrant families meet with attorneys to work on their cases. At each RILA clinic, about 25 volunteers come together to make and serve dinner for RILA families, provide administrative support, and interpret. RILA has a core staff of five people who continuously work on behalf of RILA families throughout the week.

Who are RILA Families?


Currently, there are over 85 RILA families, who represent countries in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia, the Middle East, and most of them are fleeing persecution and unescapable violence in their home countries. Many RILA clients are unaccompanied children. Though RILA families have been through unspeakable tragedy; they persist with resilience, work very hard, and love their families. It is our privilege to walk with these families throughout their immigration journey.

RILA Needs Your Help!


RILA believes that every person fleeing abuse, persecution, or death should be allowed to live in safety and have access to excellent legal representation regardless of financial means. For each case that would cost up to $10,000 at a private law firm, RILA gives the gift of legal representation 100% free of charge.

We learn their names, their hopes and fears, their stories. We listen, advocate, and serve.

After two and half years and almost 100 clients served, we are acutely aware that there is more need for asylum representation than RILA can currently meet. In fact, we have had to slow down intake—and stop at times—because there’s simply not enough capacity. Because of this great need, we are filing for 501(c)(3) status and deepening our partnerships with people like you who care about the most vulnerable among us.

Join us!


  • Volunteer! RILA is always in need of volunteers to help in the areas of: interpreting, hospitality, client interviewing, administration, or any other skill you may bring! RILA is also in need of volunteer attorneys! If you live in the D.C. Metro Area and are interested in volunteering, contact Kate at katherine.liias@gmail.com for more information.
  • Give! We have set a goal of raising $200,000 in operating expenses for the next year, and we hope you’ll come alongside us to help achieve this goal. Give online, or you may send a check to Restoration Anglican Church at 1815 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22207, and designate “RILA” in the memo line

Give to RILA

RILA Staff


  • Natalie Foote, DOJ Accredited Representative, LCSW, Executive Director
  • Jason Braun, Esq., Legal Services Director
  • Michelle Swearingen, DOJ Accredited Representative, Program Director
  • Carrie Knooihuizen, Intake Coordinator
  • Kellen Bagnoli, Clinic Coordinator
  • Kate Liias, Volunteer Coordinator
  • Maria Holguin, Interpreter and Case Worker
  • Susie Wallin, Administration and Community Outreach

RILA Organizing Board


  • Christine Jones, Chairwoman
  • Sean Burke
  • David Hanke
  • Rachel Hoppe
  • Hudaidah Bhimdi
  • Matt McNeil
  • Izzy Ortega
  • Joe Whitehead

RILA Affiliations


RILA is a recognized organization by the Department of Justice, which designates RILA as a trusted organization that provides low-cost immigration legal services and will not deny services due to a person’s inability to pay. RILA is an affiliate of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), which provides RILA staff with access to immigration legal resources, trainings, supervision, and consultation.

Next steps


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