Texas Bar Foundation Grant
Texas Bar Foundation Grant
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $25 million in grants to law-related programs, and has a long history of supporting organizations and initiatives that promote justice, legal education, and access to legal services. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation. Thanks to the Texas Bar Foundation, BIIN is set to hire legal assistance, including an attorney. The foundation’s grant to BIIN is a testament to its commitment to their principles and its recognition of the vital role that legal assistance plays in ensuring justice and equity for immigrants.
BIIN’s mission revolves around three key pillars: promoting the dignity and well-being of immigrants, fostering an inclusive community, and advocating for immigrant rights. While BIIN has made commendable strides in fulfilling its mission, the grant from the Texas Bar Foundation is poised to be a game-changer for BIIN and its ability to serve the community. Offering Information, Referral and Assistant Clinics every Saturday from 2pm-4pm, volunteers and interns are able to assist the community with their needs such as wage theft cases, document translations, and pro-bono legal consultations. Now with this grant, BIIN will be able to diversify the types of services it provides, with an emphasis in legal aid.
While the Information, Referral, and Assistant drop-in clinics are a valuable resource, some immigration cases require more in-depth legal expertise. With the funding, BIIN will now hire an attorney and two legal assistants to offer comprehensive legal support to immigrants facing complex legal issues such as asylum claims, family reunification, and naturalization. This expansion will not only improve immigrants’ access to legal aid but also foster a more secure and confident community.
Tania Barrios, a TAMU Alumni, served as the IRA Americorps Coordinator from September 2022 to August 2023. While coordinator, Tania was able to impact the program positively, having made many efforts to assist the immigrant community. Since September of 2023, Tania has moved on to be Case Consultant for the program, and now she will become one of the two legal assistants BIIN will hire. Tania looks back on her time as IRA Coordinator, stating “It was a long year with many lessons learned. The IRA Volunteers played a huge role in training and supporting me throughout the year.” With her new role in the program and thanks to the grant, Tania hopes that IRA will be able to hold much-needed workshops for the immigrant community, and is excited to be part of the journey.
Current TAMU student, Azuzena Mondragon served as the Community Outreach Intern for BIIN during the summer of 2023. Since then she has taken over the IRA Americorps Coordinator role and is being guided and trained by Tania, as well as the current IRA volunteers. Alongside Tania, Azuzena will serve as the second legal assistant that BIIN is set to hire. “This grant will allow IRA to reach a new great potential: being able to greatly assist immigrants facing legal challenges, while also supporting them through the complex immigration system.” Azuzena hopes that IRA will transition into a program that is reliable for all, and is thrilled for BIIN’s future.
The grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network marks a significant step towards enhancing the organization’s ability to serve the immigrant community in the Brazos Valley region. By increasing the IRA drop-in clinic hours, expanding the types of legal services offered, hosting more workshops such as DACA Clinics, and taking on more time-consuming cases, BIIN is set to make a profound impact on the lives of immigrants in need of support. This grant exemplifies the power of collaboration between legal foundations and grassroots organizations in addressing the pressing legal needs of vulnerable communities. BIIN’s continued dedication to fostering an inclusive community and promoting the well-being of immigrants is sure to make the Brazos Valley a more welcoming and equitable place for all.