Gulfcoast Legal Services sees surge in immigration clients
Gulfcoast Legal Services has seen a surge of clients in response to the nationwide news of increased immigration raids and deportations.
GLS opened a small office in Wimauma on the campus of the Beth-El Farmworker Ministry in January and in six months helped almost 200 clients. The Wimauma community in southern Hillsborough County is 75% Hispanic, and more than a third of residents were born outside of the U.S., according to GLS.
GLS staff has prepared legal documents for immigrant clients to give authority to a trusted caretaker to make school, medical, and other decisions for minor children in the event the clients are detained or deported.
“It is our privilege to work with these clients, to witness their resiliency and strength,” said Lisa Murray, managing attorney of the immigration unit at GLS. “We are doing everything we can to assist them in obtaining legal status and ensure their families are taken care of.”
Along with power of attorney preparations, GLS staff are able to help with other immigration matters like U and T Visas, which are specifically for victims of crimes like domestic violence or human trafficking, VAWA Self-Petitions, and Abused Spouse Waivers.