Impact Stories

ILAP would like to thank Alexander Bertoni for producing and editing these videos.

Leandre, Former Client

When Leandre arrived in U.S., forced out by instability in his home country, he began again at square one. Left behind were his friends, his family, his possessions, and everything that he had worked so hard to attain. As he began to rebuild a life and a home, Leandre faced a new challenge: the legal intricacies that come with attempting to gain legal status in the United States. That's where ILAP came in. Working closely with Leandre, they helped him work through the complex legal documents and procedure that mark the beginning of any immigrant's life in the U.S.


Zaineb, Former Client

When Zaineb was finally granted refugee status after many years spent living in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, she was unable to ensure that her infant son could come with her. Her son, born in Syria, was not afforded the same protections and refugee status given to Zaineb, an Iraqi native. With little choice, Zaineb came to the United States, but never stopped fighting to bring her son with her. ILAP stepped in to help with her case and, after many months, Zaineb was reunited with her son.

Jane, Volunteer

As a lawyer with more than forty years of experience, Jane was looking to find a way to use her skills to support the Portland community. That's when she heard about ILAP. Familiar with the intricacies of the legal back-end of the immigration process, Jane works with ILAP clients to cut through the dozens of pages of legalese to make sense of a process that is fraught with emotion and hardship. Thanks to her tireless efforts, Maine has been able to welcome many new citizens.


Adele, Board Member

When Adele arrived in the United States, she came with no social network and a limited grasp of English. Pairing this with the intricacies of the immigration system, Adele knew she needed a hand. That’s where ILAP came in, helping her gain legal status so that she could build a family and a life in Portland. Since then, she has become a small business owner and continues to work with ILAP as a member of our Board of Directors. Bringing a unique voice and experience to the organization, Adele continues to be a key player in the ILAP story.


ILAP By the Numbers

  • ILAP clients live and work in all 16 counties in Maine, as well as originate from 90-100 countries.

  • Approximately 3,000 Mainers receive immigration legal services from ILAP each year, encompassing full representation, brief intervention, consultations, forms assistance and educational outreach.

  • Of this number, more than 1,000 are served through our Immigration Forms program. And more than 1,500 immigrant community members and service providers attend 40+ educational outreach events across the state.

  • ILAP regularly provides accurate and timely information to the media; we are interviewed or quoted by local and national news sources 25-30 times per year.

  • From 2016-2018, ILAP maintained a 100% approval rate for full representation cases that have received a final decision.

  • 40% of our full representation cases are handled by volunteer attorneys on our Pro Bono Panel, at a value of nearly $1,000,000 in donated time annually.

The impact of ILAP’s work extends beyond our clients and their families and into Maine’s communities. In 2016, ILAP partnered with Maine’s six civil legal aid organizations to understand the economic impact of our legal services, and commissioned a report by University of Maine Economics Professor Dr. Todd Gabe. The study found that civil legal aid resulted in a positive economic impact in Maine that totaled over $105 million in 2015 alone, including $37 million that resulted from individual cases and $68 million that resulted from systemic cases and advocacy.

  • At the individual level, immigrant workers who obtained legal status and work authorization saw a $6.2 million increase in earnings over a 10-year period, which averages to a 7% wage increase annually. By comparison, workers advancing their educational level saw a $2.8 million increase in earnings over the same period.

  • At the community level, helping asylum seekers obtain work authorization saved $800,000 in General Assistance costs in 2015, as well as reduced spending on homeless shelters and healthcare.