Legal Services

Below are the JFON-NE areas of immigration legal practice. We offer legal consultations provided by professional attorneys who specialize in immigration law. To find out if  you are eligible for free legal services call our intake partner, the Nebraska Immigration Legal Assistance Hotline (NILAH), at 1-855-307-6730.


In order to qualify for asylum, one must be within the U.S. and establish that he/she meets the definition of a refugee contained within the Immigration and Nationality Act.  A refugee is any person who is outside of his/her country of nationality or, if stateless, is outside any country in which he/she last habitually resided, and “who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of [past] persecution or a well-founded fear of [future] persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”  It is also important for one seeking asylum to file within one year of his/her last date of entry.

Family Based

A citizen of the United States may file a petition for certain relatives to help them obtain lawful permanent resident status within the United States if the otherwise qualify. Those relatives include the following:

  • Spouse
  • Minor children (who are unmarried and under 21 years old)
  • Adult sons or daughters (who are married or who are 21 years or older)
  • Parents, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old or older
  • Brothers, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old or older

A lawful permanent resident may also file a petition for certain family members to help them obtain lawful permanent resident status within the United States if the otherwise qualify. Those relatives include the following:

  • Spouse
  • Minor children
  • Adult unmarried sons or daughters

Note that wait times can vary widely and other restrictions may prevent certain people from qualifying for lawful permanent resident status.


As explained above, a refugee is a person who has fled his or her country of nationality because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. People who enter the U.S. as refugees are resettled within the U.S. after having been found to meet the definition of a refugee.

Refugees must file to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident one year after having entered the United States as a refugee.


Removal proceedings are formal legal proceedings initiated by the federal government against non-citizens whom the government believes may be legally removed from the United States.  These proceedings typically begin when a notice to appear (i.e., the charging document) is served on an individual believed to be removable and subsequently filed with a federal immigration judge. The notice to appear will state factually why the government believes the person is legally removable from the U.S.

Sometimes people charged as being removable are not actually removable and other times people may be legally entitled to assert certain defenses to removal.  The immigration judge will decide these matters.  Either the non-citizen or the government may seek review of an immigration judge’s decision if an appeal is timely filed.

ProBono Detainee Project:
For persons who are currently detained, you may download the ProBono Detainee Project intake in English here.

Para personas que estan detenidas actualmente, descargue la aplicacion del programa ProBono para Detenidos en español aqui.


Special Immigrant Juvenile status is a form of lawful status for immigrant children in the United States who cannot be reunited with one or both parents as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. For a child to be eligible, in addition to the above a state court within the United States must also find that that it is not in the best interest of the child to be returned to his/her country of nationality.

It is important to note that the age of majority in Nebraska is 19 years old and in Iowa it is 18 year old.  Children should seek legal advice on whether they qualify for this form relief well in advance of reaching the age of majority


Individuals who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of being a victim of a certain serious qualifying crimes may be eligible for U nonimmigrant status. Those qualifying crimes include: “rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual exploitation; stalking; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury; fraud in foreign labor contracting.”   People who qualify for a U-visa may also include certain family members as derivatives, such as a spouse, children, parents, and siblings, depending upon the age of the victim.


If a spouse, child, or parent, is being battered or subject to extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident, he or she may be able to file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA allows qualifying victims of domestic violence to obtain deferred action, a work permit, and some individuals may also be eligible for lawful permanent resident status.   A VAWA self-petition can be filed without the abuser knowledge or permission. The provisions of VAWA apply equally to women and men.



Neither the information provided on this web site nor transmissions between you and JFON-NE through this web site are intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.  Note that you are not a client of JFON-NE until both you and JFON-NE agree to enter into that attorney/client relationship in a signed writing specifically describing the legal matter on which JFON-NE will represent you. | ® 2014 Justice For Our Neighbors NE