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National Programs

We are supporting survivors of violence through

direct services

Since 1997, Tahirih has answered more than 32,000 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 2022, we:

  • Provided free legal services to 1,647 immigrant survivors and 986 of their family members.
  • Connected 337 clients and their family members with vital social services, including emergency shelter, food and clothing, and health care.
  • Mobilized 1,295 attorneys from 122 top law firms in our Pro Bono Network to leverage donated resources and maximize our capacity.
Two women smiling, standing in front of an open trunk of an SUV filled with boxes of diapers and gifts to donate.

Vanessa Wilkins, Tahirih Atlanta Executive Director, and a volunteer from our partner, National Council of Jewish Women, deliver holiday gifts and cards to clients.

Tahirih staff members sitting around a conference room table looking at a large screen with a presentation slide titled Asylum.

Tahirih Houston staff and the Houston Young Lawyers Association host a free legal clinic.

Individuals Impacted Through Free Legal Services in 2022

Chart showing 2,633 total individuals served in 2022. 1,410 individuals provided direct representation. 237 individuals provided brief advice and counsel. 696 family members also impacted through direct representation. 290 family members also impacted through brief advice and counsel.
chart with text 92% of Tahirih cases are closed successfully as defined by Tahirih clients and their advocate teams

Tahirih helped me apply for a U visa, which allowed me to stay in the U.S. They also helped me access mental health services so I could boost my self-esteem and leave my past behind. Today, I can provide for my family and live in a home where my two daughters and I feel safe.

Mercy, a Tahirih client

Our Clients

In 2022, the top five countries of origin for our clients were:
  1. Honduras: 379 clients (23%)
  2. El Salvador: 295 clients (18%)
  3. Mexico: 210 clients (13%)
  4. Afghanistan: 204 clients (12%)
  5. Guatemala: 195 clients (12%)
World map of Tahirih clients' countries of origin. 72% Latin America, 0% Caribbean, 1% Europe, 2% Middle East and North Africa, 8% Sub-Saharan Africa, 17% Asia, 0% Other.
While many of our clients experienced violence in their countries of origin,
Young Black woman with chin in hand looking off to the side with a thoughtful but not sad expression.
experience abuse and exploitation after coming to the U.S.

Types of Immigration Protections in 2022

Pie chart showing a total of 1,642 people protected in 2022

39% Asylum for survivors fleeing persecution in home country

33% U visa for survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or violent crime who assist law enforcement

9% Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) relief for survivors of domestic violence inflicted by spouse or parent

6% T visa for survivors of human trafficking

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

9% 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 2022, we:

  • Engaged more than 5,800 professionals in outreach and training
  • Participated in 119 training sessions, panel presentations, outreach events, and media events.
  • Trained 271 pro bono attorneys on how to screen Afghan asylum seekers using a trauma-informed approach.
  • Delivered training about gender-based violence for the Annapolis Immigration Justice Network.
  • Provided a training on client-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally humble humanitarian immigration services to 190 paralegals at the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s conference for paralegals.
Young woman giving a presentation with slide titled "Who benefits from the Enhanced+ Card?"

Alondra Andrade, Tahirih Houston Community Engagement Coordinator, presented at a community event.

Three women of color smiling and standing in front of a tall freestanding banner titled "Regional Commission on Homelessness"

Tahirih staff in Atlanta were invited to present and participate in the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2022 Forum, “United Against Human Trafficking.

Woman of color talking with microphone. Caucasian woman sitting next to her and looking with attention.

Tahirih CEO Archi Pyati and Board member Aicha Abdoulaye spoke at a community outreach event in San Francisco.

Woman giving a presentation, gesturing with her arm toward a screen with a slide titled "Ningún costo por aplicar por una orden de protección" (No cost to apply for a protection order)

Tahirih Chief of Programs Maricarmen Garza gave a presentation on protection orders for trans and queer migrants to Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas.

Working with members of the Tahirih Greater DC staff has been a wonderful experience. Not only do they care so much about the well-being of their clients and ensure they get the services they need, but they also care for the rest of their team, from attorneys to volunteers. They have made me feel seen, included, and empowered to help since day one.

Katy, Tahirih volunteer

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 2022, we:

  • Advocated successfully for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which defined forced marriage as a form of gender-based violence for the first time.
  • Launched the Gender & Migration Working Group of advocates in partnership with the Immigration Hub to promote the equitable, safe, and humane treatment of migrating people who experience, or are at high risk for, systemic harm due to their actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity.
  • Partnered with Oxfam America to study gender-based violence at the Southern border and legal access barriers for survivors, resulting in the October publication of a joint report, Surviving Deterrence, with policy recommendations and a webinar discussing the findings.
  • Advised the Biden Administration on how to enhance protections for survivors, providing substantial feedback to the White House Council on Gender-Based Violence on its updated pamphlet on gender-based violence that was published and translated into multiple languages.
  • Prevailed in our lawsuit challenging the 2020 regulations that severely restricted work authorization for people seeking asylum.
  • Succeeded in our lawsuit challenging the denial of Special Immigrant Juvenile status to a Houston client, who was granted an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident.

Photo by Kiarah Pettaway / Unsplash

We are working to end

forced and child marriage in the united states

In 2022, we:

  • Provided direct services to 102 clients and expert technical assistance impacting 183 individuals across the U.S. and abroad.
  • Equipped more than 984 advocates, allies, service providers, and other frontline professionals with critical tools to identify forced marriage and protect victims.
  • Coordinated and led a coalition of local advocates, including survivors, to champion and help pass a bill that restricts child marriage in Maryland by raising the minimum age to marry from 15 to 17. Massachusetts and Alaska also passed bills this year to limit child marriage.
  • Planned and hosted a Know Your Rights webinar for Afghan women in partnership with Tahirih’s legal team, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and Catholic Charities of Oregon, in addition to providing a virtual space for Afghan women to ask these partners questions about gender-based violence.
  • Initiated in-depth conversations with a national child marriage survivors group about how best to support and coordinate efforts.
  • Provided survivor-centered language for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s brochure on gender-based violence, which now includes forced marriage as a form of harm.
  • Presented guidance for mental health providers at the North American Refugee Health Conference alongside Dr. Neha Batool.
BIPOC woman and caucasian woman standing in front of a table with printed materials and a Tahirih Justice Center tablecloth banner.

Tahirih Atlanta Executive Director Vanessa Wilkins and Director of Public Policy Casey Swegman presented together at the annual Georgia Commission on Family Violence conference on how to identify and support survivors and those at risk of forced marriage.

Screenshot of a Zoom presentation with camera views of seven women attending the presentation.

Hellitz Villegas, Forced Marriage Initiative Project Manager, and Casey Swegman, Director of Public Policy, participated in a free Know Your Rights seminar for Afghan women in the U.S.

My lawyers at the Tahirih Justice Center fought for the removal of [an ankle bracelet as I waited for my deportation date] that only reminded me of the trauma I had endured and could face again. My lawyers have also given me hope, as they are currently fighting to appeal my case.

Mariela, Tahirih client