Imagine for a moment that you are traveling in a foreign country with a different language, culture and legal system than the United States. You are in a car accident and the police say you will not be allowed to leave until the claim is resolved. You are required to make an argument through the local court system for your right to return home. Given your lack of language skills, however, your ability to retain a lawyer is at best a challenge. You have only a little local currency, and without cultural knowledge and language ability, your hopes of self-representation are minimal. Without legal representation, furthermore, your legal claim is tenuous at best, given that you do not have an understanding of how to explain your argument- even though you may have a strong case. This scenario, far-fetched though it may seem, shares much in common with the reality that many ILSI clients face on a daily basis.
Interfaith Legal Services for Immigrants is a non-profit (501c3) organization that provides legal services to immigrants and their families in the St. Louis region. ILSI has been providing high quality legal services to low-income families on a sliding-scale basis for 9 years. Interfaith Legal Services for Immigrants was founded in 2001 by a group of individuals who were concerned about the need for legal representation of immigrants in St. Louis. Led by Angie O'Gorman, the first and long-time Board President, ILSI began offering services to low-income individuals and families who could not otherwise afford legal representation. Since that time, ILSI has handled cases for more than 1,000 immigrant families in the St. Louis area. Over the years, ILSI has worked on cases for refugees from political and armed conflicts, addressed family reunification cases where children and parents have been separated, and handled cases for victims of torture and war trauma. The current ILSI Staff and Board Members remain committed to ensuring that individuals and families who need representation in our court system can receive assistance.