Welcome South

Building a network of agencies across the Regional South to communicate, coordinate and collaborate in a holistic approach to the representation of a person throughout their immigration case life cycle.

Introduction to Welcome South

Immigrant people migrate to the Regional South because the cost of living is low, people have family connections, and winters are milder. But there is a sacrifice – far fewer protections, services, or resources for low-income people and minority populations.

Immigrants in particular are often targeted for cheap labor, suffer exploitation, and are treated as though their mere existence is illegal.

The Need for
Affordable Legal Services

There are three immigration courts that handle cases across the Regional South in Memphis, TN, Atlanta, GA, and New Orleans, LA, as well as smaller courts that serve detention facilities.

These courts are inextricably linked by a system of incarceration whereby people across the region are detained and subject to deplorable, prison-like conditions and sometimes held in indefinite captivity.

The situation for people in ICE custody is dire

Unfortunately, the need has grown larger than legal service providers have the capacity to address individually.

These facilities hold an increasing number of asylum seekers as well as those who are apprehended and arrested in our local communities.

The alarmingly high amount of immigrants who are not represented in immigration court proceedings reflects the dearth of affordable legal services available and a distinct lack of access to those services that do exist.

86% of people in ICE detention are not represented by attorneys

Compared to 34% of those in non-detained proceedings.

The likelihood of success without representation is extremely low.

Of those unrepresented, only 2% prevail in their claims, compared to the success rate of 21% for represented clients.

Welcome South
Executive Team

Welcome South is a coalition currently led by three non-profit legal service partner organizations: Advocates for Immigrant Rights (AIR), the Community Legal Center (CLC), and Mid-South Immigration Advocates (MIA).

The executive team has years of experience working together and coordinating with social service agencies to ensure clients receive effective holistic services. We know that collaboration works!