Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) was founded in 2009 to provide direct legal services, advocacy, and community education for underserved immigrants and their families so they have the opportunity to fully contribute to and participate in American society. EILS offers convenient, affordable, and bilingual services to primarily low-income immigrants. Its unique location in the heart of Latino North Philadelphia offers critical accessibility, as the majority of other immigration legal services providers are located further south. EILS provides vital legal services including assistance with naturalization, DACA and green card renewal applications and a limited number of family petitions, humanitarian visas and asylum cases. EILS was able to navigate the recent pandemic through a remote legal services model which leveraged technology for additional efficiencies in service delivery, while still preserving its locally rooted trust and reputation for quality services. This model holds potential to address the needs of those living within immigration deserts long-term. EILS’ Executive Director, Anu Thomas, says “this model works hand in hand with other visionary models that seek in the increase the supply of affordable and high-quality representation to address the overwhelming demand for these much-needed immigration legal services.”
EILS is part of the Esperanza family of institutions and program which collectively serve to strengthen Hispanic communities and all who live within them. It is a key facet of Esperanza’s commitment to forging an “opportunity community” in North Philadelphia – where individuals and families at any income level can access opportunities for economic mobility. Since its founding, EILS has provided nearly 2,000 immigrants with esperanza or hope on their journeys. EILS partners with a number of other organizations that serve immigrants, both nationally and locally, including our nonprofit partners CEIBA, NALEO, HIAS Pennsylvania, Catholic Social Services, SEMAAC, and ACAANA.