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National Programs

We are supporting survivors of violence through

direct services

Since 1997, Tahirih has answered more than 31,000 calls for help from immigrant survivors fleeing gender-based violence, providing the free legal services needed to achieve the immigration status to which survivors are entitled under U.S. law and vital social services so they can rebuild their lives.

In 2021, we:

  • Provided free legal services to 1,554 immigrant women and children and 1,036 of their family members.
  • Connected 328 clients and their family members with vital social services, including emergency shelter, food and clothing, and health care.
  • Distributed more than $218,000 in emergency financial assistance to support clients with basic needs such as food, rent, transportation, filing and case-related fees, and translations.
  • Mobilized 2,887 attorneys from 492 top law firms in our Pro Bono Network to leverage donated resources and maximize our capacity.
Photo from the trunk of an SUV-type car. Trunk is full of boxes of nutritious groceries. Two White girls ages 10-12 are smiling from the car's middle seats and throwing peace signs with their fingers.

Young volunteers help with our Tahirih Greater DC-Baltimore Food Share delivery.

Photo of masked Asian couple holding large boxes of nutritious groceries.

Eve Piyarit, Senior Staff Accountant, and her husband help with our Greater DC-Baltimore Food Share delivery.

Photo of back of a young girl with long dark hair playing in a playroom surrounded by colorful toys.

A young client plays in the Tahirih Atlanta office.

Photo of Bethany Bradley and friends who installed a new food pantry at Tahirih Houston's office.

Volunteers built cabinets and installed a new food pantry at the Tahirih Houston office.

Photo of Tahirih Houston food pantry

Volunteers built this new food pantry at Tahirih Houston’s office.

Colorful collection of handmade holiday cards created by volunteers for Tahirih clients

Volunteers made holiday cards for Tahirih clients.

Individuals Impacted Through Free Legal Services in 2021

Graph showing 1,276 individuals provided direct representation, 278 individuals provided brief advice and counsel, 725 family members also impacted through direct representation and 311 family members also impacted through brief advice and counsel. 2,590 Total.
Radial pie chart showing odds of winning asylum depend on legal representation. 96% when represented by Tahirih. 46% with representation and 15% without representation.

Tahirih attorneys were always supportive of us and continue their support even now. I am grateful to God and to them. If something tragic happens to you, know that you can find help. Remember that your story is important, not to feel worthless, and keep fighting.

Jane, Tahirih San Francisco Bay Area client

Our Clients

In 2021, the top five countries of origin for our clients were:
  1. Honduras (25%)
  2. El Salvador (22%)
  3. Mexico (15%)
  4. Guatemala (13%)
  5. Nigeria (3%)
While many of our clients experienced violence in their countries of origin,
Photo of two female presenting people, one Asian and one Latina, sitting on a picnic table in a park. Their facial expressions are mildly defiant yet positive, showing strength and resilience.
experience abuse and exploitation after coming to the U.S.

Types of Immigration Protections in 2021

Pie chart with text "1,554 total people protected"

28% Asylum for survivors fleeing persecution in home country

37% U visa for survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or violent crime who assist law enforcement

11% Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) relief for survivors of domestic violence inflicted by spouse or parent

9% T visa for survivors of human trafficking

3% Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for survivors of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect

11% Permanent Residency by receipt of green card

1% Other

We are enabling communities to meet the needs of survivors through

community outreach and training

Tahirih’s outreach programs provide thousands of frontline professionals and community members with an understanding of unique obstacles that immigrant survivors face in the wake of violence, as well as the essential tools needed to help.

In 2021, we:

  • Engaged more than 7,400 professionals in outreach and training.
  • Participated in 126 training sessions, panel presentations, outreach events, and media events.
  • Responded to calls from 269 lawyers and service providers from 18 countries and 25 states who needed expert advice.
  • Educated the public and framed the national dialogue about the impact of federal and local policies on immigrant survivors escaping gender-based violence through letters to the editor, op-eds, and articles in prominent media outlets, including the Washington Post, Univision, and Voice of America.

Outspoken Bean, Houston Poet Laureate, speaks at Journey to Justice: Hope & Healing.

Photo of female-presenting person doing technical preparation for filming

A behind-the-scenes look at Tahirih Houston’s Journey to Justice: Hope & Healing virtual event in October 2021.

I’m most excited about starting my career. It will be a dream come true. Tahirih reminded me there are still good people out there.

Ana Lucia, Tahirih Greater DC-Baltimore Region client

We are fostering lasting change through

nonpartisan policy advocacy

Tahirih’s policy team amplifies the experiences of immigrant survivors in communities, courts, and Congress to bring about systemic change, ensuring that laws and policies protect survivors from violence and exploitation.

In 2021, we:

  • Challenged two federal government rules that have since been paused while the administration is considering whether to eliminate them. These rules would harm survivors and others by (1) barring gender-based claims for asylum, and (2) expelling those who do apply for asylum while they wait for their claims to be heard.
  • Helped a client in San Francisco who had been persecuted in Mexico due to her gender and feminist political opinions. Working with pro bono partners at Munger, Tolles & Olson, we persuaded the Ninth Circuit that the client was eligible for asylum and should not be deported.
  • Launched an appellate practice group across all of Tahirih’s offices to share and build expertise on how to advocate for judges to reverse unfavorable decisions for our clients and other survivors.

We are working to end

forced and child marriage in the united states

In 2021, we:

  • Provided direct services to 87 clients and expert technical assistance impacting 170 individuals across the U.S. and abroad.
  • Equipped more than 1,297 advocates, allies, service providers, and other frontline professionals with critical tools to identify forced marriage and protect victims.
  • Convened the first-ever listening session between the White House Gender Policy Council and the National Forced Marriage Working Group, which Tahirih facilitates, to share expert recommendations for addressing forced and child marriage in the U.S. National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
  • Released the first Framework for Addressing Forced and Child Marriage in the U.S. National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence on the 10th anniversary of the Forced Marriage Initiative.
  • Worked closely with survivor-advocates, pro bono partners, and bipartisan legislators to lead a successful campaign to raise the minimum age of marriage in North Carolina. Previously, North Carolina — along with Alaska — had the lowest statutory age for marriage in the country (14) and was one of five states with a dangerous pregnancy exception that allowed young minors to marry.

Director of Public Policy Casey Swegman speaks during a virtual panel discussion with Muslims for Progressive Values and participants from around the world about the impact of forced marriage on LGBTQIA survivors.

Flyer for Forced Marriage: A Hidden Crime with photo of two female-presenting White people with long brown hair.

Hellitz Villegas, Forced Marriage Initiative Project Manager, and Casey Swegman, Director of Public Policy, joined an episode of the podcast Between Friends: Conversations With Maitri to discuss forced and child marriage and what is needed to better respond to the needs of survivors.

Tahirih helped me relocate away from a situation in which I was experiencing domestic violence and being forced to get married. Thanks to the support from your organization, I have successfully relocated, and I am living completely independently in an apartment. I also completed a master’s degree. From time to time, I think about Tahirih and the amazing, generous, and invaluable support I received from you. Thanks to you … I am in a position I never thought possible. I am so incredibly grateful for everything Tahirih did for me.

Mariam, Tahirih Forced Marriage Initiative client
Photo of young non-binary presenting person of color with short dredlocks and plaid scarf. Positive facial expression communicating strength and resilience.

Explore Our 2021 Impact Report