We Believe You, and We Want to Help

Written By: Jason Braun

Before serving as Restoration Immigration Legal Aid’s (RILA) lead attorney, I was a litigation attorney in a private practice located just a few miles away from Washington, D.C.

I left the fast-paced pace of private practice because we had two small kids at the time and no family in the area. A few months later, I was looking at jump into the workforce on a part time basis. The same week, David, my church’s pastor, preached about his vision to start an immigration clinic. I had some exposure to immigration law and felt “called” to pursue. I was put in touch with Natalie Foote, now RILA’s executive director, and once I met her the rest is history.   

There is much that I enjoy about my involvement, but one of the biggest things that never ceases to amaze me is the courage parents of young children show braving the difficult journey to make their way to the U.S. As a father of young children, hearing what immigrants will do is nothing short of remarkable. They love their children and will do anything to protect them.  

Once here, we are often the first people that seem welcoming and willing to listen to their story. When you tell an immigrant fleeing violence, persecution and unrest that you will accept their case and fight for them, there is a relief that comes over them and a sense that for the first time since being in the U.S, they feel loved and cared for by a fellow man. I wish all of our volunteers and donors could experience that moment when you first tell a client that you are going to hold their hand through this process and be with them every step of the way. It’s a wonderful feeling and a great reminder of why RILA exists and is committed to carrying out this important work. 

I am proud that we take difficult cases with a low probability of success. We care about everyone despite the strength of their case. I am proud to work with people that all care so deeply about people less fortunate than us. They sacrifice money, career and time…all to serve God’s dearly beloved.   

I hope RILA can continue to grow and help more immigrants and refugees who desperately need legal representation. When I go to court and see all the scared faces of immigrants with no representation it breaks my heart. Not only because of how overwhelmed they must feel but because their likelihood of success is diminished without help. 

Heather Hall