State Letter #09-11
Policy Clarification on Legal Assistance for Trafficking Victims and T Visa Holders
TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
REFUGEE HEALTH COORDINATORS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: David H. Siegel
Office of Refugee Resettlement
SUBJECT: Policy Clarification on Legal Assistance for Trafficking Victims and T Visa Holders
When using ORR program funds awarded to carry out activities under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), ORR contractors and grantees, and their subawardees, may not act as attorneys of record or provide legal services for victims of trafficking in matters against the Federal Government.
ORR grantees may, in limited fashion, assist clients with applications for immigration benefits. This may include assisting the client in completing the application form or helping them to create a coherent statement of facts. Such assistance cannot go beyond basic assistance with the application. That is, it may not include discussion of, recommendation of, or selection of legal strategies or tactics, legal research, or the giving of legal advice. The assistance may not provide legal representation to potential victims in ways that might create an adversarial relationship between the funding recipient and the Federal government.
Contractors and grantees, and their subawardees, may also use program funds to provide ‘know your rights’ presentations and to facilitate legal representation by private attorneys willing to act on behalf of the individual pro bono.
If you have questions about any of the information in this State Letter, please call Maggie Wynne, Director of the ORR Division for Anti-Trafficking in Persons, at 202-401-4664.