Immigrant Legal Center + Refugee Empowerment Center is a non-profit organization focused on empowering immigrants and refugees to live with confidence and free from fear. Our comprehensive and innovative approach combines legal services, refugee resettlement, social work, education, and advocacy to meet the ever-changing needs of immigrant communities.


We aim to create the gold standard for services provided to immigrants and refugees in Nebraska and southwest Iowa. What sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to the long-term success of our clients. At ILC + REC, we believe we are part of a larger movement to enhance standards for services provided to immigrants and refugees in our local, regional, and national communities.


We are committed to empowering immigrants, and we invite you to join us on this journey. Together, we can create a brighter future for all, where every immigrant and refugee can thrive and live with confidence

From top left: ILC + REC staff at the 2023 Omaha Cinco de Mayo Parade, Case Manager Wazhma Ahmadzai and her daughter, ILC + REC staff celebrating Paralegal Hamayoon Ghaforian receiving his green card, Case Manager Malek Zenbarra celebrates receiving his citizenship, DOJ Accredited Representative Claudia Islas, Director of Communications Cailan Franz and her daughter. 


Access our current and historical financial documents, including audited financial statements, IRS Form 990s, and annual reports.



Join our team of dedicated professionals and make a meaingful impact on immigrants and refugees in our community!


Our Shared History

As of October 1, 2022, Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) and Refugee Empowerment Center (REC) have officially merged under ILC leadership solidifying services and support for immigrants in our community. Through this merger, we bring together a wealth of expertise, experience, and resources that allow our staff to provide a holistic blend of high-quality services to our newest friends and neighbors in Nebraska and southwest Iowa.



The Southern Sudan Community Association (SSCA) was formed by founder and former Executive Director Tor Kuet to help refugees overcome the challenges of resettling in a new country and achieving economic self-sufficiency. The organization started with one English Language Class and a handful of volunteers. 


SSCA received its first federal grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. 



The Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) was founded as Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) with the support of the Nebraska and Iowa Conferences of the Methodist Church.




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.


SSCA becomes a recognized refugee resettlement agency serving as an affiliate of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) 



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.



SSCA rebrands as the Refugee Empowerment Center to reflect the multicultural expansion of the organization. 


JFON-NE/ILC purchases the building at 42nd and Center in Omaha as the organization’s new headquarters. 


JFON-NE rebrands as Immigrant Legal Center and opens satellite offices across the state of Nebraska, including in Columbus, Crete, Grand Island, Lexington, Nebraska City, Scottsbluff, and South Sioux City, Nebraska as well as Council Bluffs, Iowa.


ILC opens a new office in Lincoln, Nebraska.
ILC and REC enter into a management contract, and the ILC Leadership Team serves as interim leadership for REC. 
Following the departure of US troops in Afghanistan, REC manages the largest resettlement operation in recent history, welcoming over 400 Afghans to Nebraska in five months. 
ILC launches programming specifically for unaccompanied children and adds a social work department to the organization.
ILC and REC officially merge as one unified agency delivering high-quality services to our immigrant and refugee communities.
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