The Immigrant Legal Center (ILC)—a metro Omaha-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit—is the new name for Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE), operating in Nebraska and Southwest Iowa since 1999. Under the new name, we remain an affiliate of Justice For Our Neighbors, a network of 15 state chapters offering more than 40 legal clinics for immigration services. Read the latest update to our services and programs in our current Annual Report.
We are Nebraska’s largest immigration legal services nonprofit that employs full-time licensed attorneys and provides legal services for low-income immigrants. ILC is uniquely positioned to take a holistic approach to our clients’ complex, interwoven immigration-related legal needs through our diverse team of specialized professionals. Because all our attorneys specialize in immigration law, they are able to draw on multiple resources that are available for the most complex casework.
While our headquarters is in Omaha, Nebraska, our collaborative partners make it possible for us to have a regular presence in Lexington, Grand Island, Crete, and South Sioux City, Nebraska; and Council Bluffs, Iowa. We are grateful for their support.
All people deserve compassion—it’s about our shared humanity. No matter where we were born, we are all human beings and we are all entitled to the same respect. We believe that our country’s approach to immigration should not tear families apart or deny people basic assistance.
We value the shared prosperity that immigrants provide to our communities. We believe in a common sense, practical approach to immigration law, rather than the existing outdated U.S. immigration system. Our legal team is committed to serving our clients with integrity and is committed to provide a safe place to begin a path to their immigration legal goals.
In 2016, ILC’s eleven attorneys worked on more than 2,700 cases for people from 47 countries—a 35% increase over 2015. More than 81% of our clients were from Mexico and Central America, 51% were children under the age of 18 and 27% of our clients were victims of domestic abuse or violent crimes.
The foundation of our work is to provide immigration legal services in an inclusive and compassionate sense—welcoming and helping immigrants who are often scared and confused by the U.S. legal system, and who cannot afford legal assistance from the private bar. The ultimate goal of the Immigrant Legal Center is to empower immigrants to be full participants in the community by providing access to the justice system.
We serve immigrants of all faiths, races, abilities, and ages, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable:
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) started the National Justice For Our Neighbors network in 1999 as a response to the 1996 passage of one of the harshest immigration laws in recent history.
The Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) was founded as Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) with the support of the Nebraska and Iowa Conferences.
Legal clinics were started by United Methodist Churches in Omaha, Sioux City, and Des Moines. Attorneys from JFON in Washington, D.C. flew in monthly to supervise the legal clinics and advise the clients. Volunteers coordinated the clinics and conducted the intake interviews.
JFON-NE/ILC became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
In 2011, the board of directors hired an executive director and legal director to grow the organization.
In 2014, JFON-NE staff and board of directors embarked on a strategic plan focused on building capacity to better meet the legal needs of low-income immigrants in Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
Over the years, we found that the name Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) didn’t help people to understand exactly what we do. In 2018, Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska changed its name to Immigrant Legal Center (ILC). We chose the name to communicate clearly the nature and scope of our work. We continue our affiliation with the JFON network. While maintaining JFON’s core immigration legal services, ILC added programs and partnerships that reduce barriers to access the justice system for matters related to family law, fair working conditions, and health care. The programs provide an opportunity to test our research and assumptions and clarify our plans. This holistic approach positions us to address the interwoven legal issues that prevent immigrants from fully participating in their communities.
Learn about our Legal Services.