Esperanza Center


Immigration Legal Services

Immigration Legal Services was founded in 1994 to provide low-cost legal counseling and representation in immigration matters. We have served individuals from over 150 different countries who reside in Maryland or have immigration cases in Maryland. We assist clients and their family members seeking to obtain, extend or retain lawful immigration status or citizenship in the United States.

 Services We Provide

We provide affordable legal counseling and representation in a wide-range of immigration matters including:

  • Immigration consultation services
  • Family-based petitions
  • Adjustment of status
  • Trafficking, crime victim, and domestic violence-based immigration applications
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) applications
  • Fingerprinting for certain cases
  • Immigrant visa processing
  • Naturalization and citizenship applications
  • Inadmissibility waiver applications
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • NACARA (Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act)
  • Cancellation of removal

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We are located in Fells Point at 430 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231.

 General immigration consults

When: Tuesday mornings, starting at 9 AM on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please bring:

  • All documents related to your immigration legal needs.
  • Consult fee ($100) must be paid by money order. No cash or personal checks accepted.

Get Involved

Please contact the office at (410) 534-8015 for additional details or to obtain a Consultation Questionnaire in advance, which will help speed the process. 

 Consults for Victims of Crime and Domestic Violence

When: Wednesday mornings, starting at 9 AM, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please bring:

  • All documents related to your immigration legal needs - especially a police report.
  • There is no cost for consultations for victims.

For additional details regarding this process, please contact our office.


Participation in an ILS consult does not guarantee that we will be able to take your case or be able to represent you in court; however, it is an opportunity to receive valuable legal advice about your legal needs from an immigration attorney.

Please note that because of financial constraints we are limited in the number of cases we can accept. However, we are providing on-going consultations because we believe it is important that you understand your situation and so that we can evaluate and discuss the immigration options that are available to you.

Representation fees: Our office provides immigration consultations to all Maryland residents.  During the consultation, the lawyer will discuss with you the immigration options available.  Any government and/or office fees related to subsequent application filings will be discussed during the consult.

Former clients: If our office has worked on and completed a case for you, you must still undergo the consultation process before we can begin a new case.  If you are unsure, call us. If you have only consulted with our office in the past but we did not represent you, you must call for a consultation appointment in order for us to answer new questions or begin a new case for you. 

 Pro Bono Project

Check out the most recent Pro Bono Project Newsletter!

Free SIJS Training to Help Unaccompanied Minors! Please see registration info below.

The Pro Bono Project consists of two distinct parts: group processing workshops, or clinics, and individual case placement. The Project is overseen principally by the Pro Bono Coordinator, Ouranitsa Abbas (, 443-825-3421).


The Pro Bono Coordinator organizes clinics for large groups of eligible individuals to receive specific immigration legal services, such as naturalization (citizenship) applications, refugee/asylee adjustment of status (green card) applications, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. Clinics are held typically once a month on specific Saturdays, often with a prescreening night on Tuesday. 

All are welcome to participate in the clinics to help screen for eligibility and fill out immigration forms under the supervision of an attorney or BIA Accredited Representative. For more information, click here to access the Clinic Fact Sheet. The schedule for the next clinics can be found in our most recent Pro Bono Project Newsletter here.

Individual Case Placement

The need for immigration legal services virtually always exceeds our capacity for casework. Although we are a high-volume immigration legal service provider, handling an active caseload of over 500 clients at any given time, we often have to put certain types of cases on a waitlist.  Currently, those cases include potential asylum, U Visas, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Experienced immigration attorneys are welcome to contact us to take a potential asylum or U Visa pro bono referral and we are available for limited technical advice as needed. For our potential SIJS cases, our waitlist has grown due to the waves of unaccompanied minors and we have developed a more structured training and case placement system to accommodate the changes we have been experiencing.

What is SIJS?

SIJS is a special form of immigration relief resulting in a path to citizenship for certain unaccompanied minors who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by at least one parent. Many of these children are actively in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. However, before they are even able to apply for SIJS, an order of these special findings must be sought, usually during a guardianship or custody hearing, in the circuit court that has jurisdiction over the minor. Most of our clients come from Baltimore City and the surrounding counties. Thus, SIJS turns out to be a two-part process: part one occurs in circuit court with a Maryland licensed attorney and part two occurs in immigration court and with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with an attorney licensed in any state or a BIA Accredited Representative. 

Why do you need pro bono attorneys for the SIJS process?

Currently, we need pro bono attorneys licensed in Maryland to represent our clients in circuit court at the guardianship or custody hearings to seek an order of the special findings necessary to enable our clients to seek immigration relief. Additionally, we welcome attorneys to participate in the immigration defense process (part two) as needed.    

How can I help? 

Take our free SIJS Training to get trained on the topic and help a child. Registration is a two-part process:

1. Register for the Pro Bono Panel by filling out the attorney registration form or the non-attorney registration form and returning it to the Pro Bono Coordinator.

2. Register for the free SIJS training to be held August 21, 2014 by filling out the registration form and returning it to the Pro Bono Coordinator.  If you cannot attend, a link will be made available to those interested in viewing the webcast, but you still must register.

Please click here for more information in general on volunteering with Esperanza Center.

 Donate to our Law Library

Catholic Charities of Baltimore Immigration Legal Services would appreciate any recent editions of books/materials for our modest law library.  As you plan for your annual law library updates, please consider donating the outgoing/older editions to us.  

These materials would be very much appreciated in our work and would make helpful additions to our library. Please mail to 430 S. Broadway, 3rd floor, Baltimore, MD 21231.

Generous support for the Immigration Legal Services Program is provided by:

MLSC logo



Immigration Legal Services is a member organization of CLINIC, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.




 LIRS network Fingerprinting Sites

Before a child can be reunified with family, certain steps must be taken to ensure that the child is being released to a safe environment.  One of these steps is that the child’s potential sponsor must have his/her fingerprints taken for a criminal background check.

There are fingerprint sites housed within 10 of the shelters that care for the children while they are in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Within the network of the Division of Children’s Services (DCS), LIRS currently partners with 20 social service agencies across the country to provide digital fingerprint services. These sites maintain hours for sponsors to come in to be fingerprinted on a special digital machine. LIRS fingerprint partners are part of community agencies which work diligently to welcome newcomers. The agencies offer DCS fingerprinting services in addition to other supportive services such as food banks, legal services and continuing education.

If you have any questions on the LIRS fingerprint network please contact Virginia Fitchett.