Multicultural Resources

Legal Resources

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP)
Contacts: Beth Stickney, Sue Roche
309 Cumberland Ave., Suite 201
PO Box 17917
Portland, ME 04112
Phone: (207) 780-1593, 1-800-497-8505
Fax: (207) 699-2313
E-mail: info@ilapmaine.org
Web-site: http://www.ilapmaine.org

ILAP is Maine’s only nonprofit legal aid agency assisting low-income non-citizens, and their U.S. citizen family members, with immigration law and related legal issues. Through ILAP’s Immigration Clinic, ILAP offers attorney consultations, immigration application assistance, and brief intervention to resolve minor immigration complications. ILAP charges low-fees for Immigration Clinic Services, with fee waivers available. For persons who have complex immigration cases, ILAP offers full legal representation for free or low-fee, depending upon income. ILAP also provides Education and Outreach services, offering workshops for immigrant community groups, and trainings for service providers who work with non-citizens, about immigration law and related matters. ILAP works additionally on systemic and policy issues the affect Maine’s immigrants.

ILAP represents individuals before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, formerly known as the INS), the State Department (the U.S. consulates abroad), and persons in removal proceedings at the Immigration Court of Boston, the Board of Immigration Appeals and in the Federal Courts. ILAP also assists criminal defense attorneys representing non-citizens in criminal matters, in order to help prevent non-citizens from becoming deportable because of criminal charges.

Walk-in Consultations with an immigration attorney are available for $10 per 1/2 hour from ILAP on Friday afternoons from 11:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at our office at 309 Cumberland Avenue in Portland, Maine. Consultations are also available in Portland and twice a month in Lewiston by appointment by calling ILAP.

Maine Civil Liberties Union
Shenna Bellows, Executive Director
401 Cumberland Ave., Suite 105
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 774-5444
Fax: (207) 774-1103
E-mail: info@mclu.org
Website: www.mclu.org

The Maine Civil Liberties Union works to advance and preserve civil liberties of Maine people through litigation, advocacy, public education and lobbying. The MCLU provides legal representation regardless of ability to pay to those whose constitutional rights to free speech, religion, due process, or equal protection under the law have been violated. The MCLU provides legal assistance to people who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation (for example, a restaurant or a doctor’s office), education, or credit. For people with limited English proficiency, this may include failure to provide interpreter or translation services.

Example of illegal discrimination against minorities include:

  • Failure to hire a person because of gender, national origin, sexual orientation, race, or religion.
  • Refusal to rent to a person because of gender, national origin, sexual orientation, race, or religion.
  • Racial profiling by the police.

Maine Human Rights Commission
Amy Sheirson, Executive Director
51 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333 0051
Phone: (207) 624 6050
TTY: Maine Relay 711
Fax: (207) 624-6063
E-mail: Questions about filing a charge can be e-mailed to: amy.sheirson@maine.gov
Website: http://www.maine.gov/mhrc/

The Maine Human Rights Commission is the State agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing Maine’s anti-discrimination laws. The Commission receives and investigates complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, education, access to public accommodations, extension of credit, and offensive names.

The Maine Human Rights Act specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin. For example, if someone is treated differently, delayed or denied equal services because of their language or culture, that may be discrimination. The Commission will attempt to resolve those complaints to the mutual satisfaction of all who are involved and will pursue a remedy in court when alternative solutions have failed.

A charge must be filed within 6 months of the date of discrimination. Charges may be filed in person or by mail by filling out a form provided by the Commission. The Commission will not accept charges by FAX or at its internet address. A charge must be sworn to under oath before a Notary Public or other person authorized by law to administer oaths.

Pine Tree Legal Assistance
Nan Heald, Executive Director
88 Federal Street
PO Box 547
Portland, ME 04112
Phone:  (207) 774-8211 (a voice mail system in English, Spanish, Somalian, Serbo-Croatian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and Russian)
TTY:    (207) 828-2308
Fax:      (207) 828-2300
Website:  www.ptla.org  or www.helpmelaw.org  or www.kidslegal.org  
also useful reference guides at: www.ptla.org/immigrants/english/  or http://www.ptla.org/inmigracion/una-guia-para-los-inmigrantes-del-estado-de-maine

Pine Tree is a statewide non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals with civil legal problems, especially involving domestic violence, government benefits, housing and other basic necessities. Pine Tree services are provided by a trained and experienced staff around the State, some of who are bilingual, and it prioritizes cases involving individuals who are unable to effectively advocate for themselves because of LEP or disability. It also provides legal education and self-help materials, some of which are available in Spanish and other languages from local offices or on the Pine Tree website at http://www.ptla.org

Examples of these services include the following;

  • Domestic violence involving an LEP victim or child;
  • Substandard housing, evictions and other problems involving LEP tenants;
  • Help with government notices and hearings for LEP consumers
  • Education questions for ESL students/families
  • Help with medical care issues for LEP consumers (especially MaineCare)
  • Consumer questions for LEP consumers

Pine Tree also recently received a special grant to provide federal income tax assistance to ESL and LEP consumers around the State. To access assistance, individuals should call or visit the nearest Pine Tree office.

Farmworker Unit of Pine Tree Legal Assistance
61 Main Street, Room 41
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: Toll-Free from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada 1-800-879-7463
(207) 942-0673
Fax: (207) 942-8323
TTY: (207) 942-1060

Specializes in providing free legal services to agricultural workers. Services are available to eligible farm workers whether they are migrants or reside in Maine.

  • Disputes with your employer
  • Denial of public benefits
  • Substandard worker housing
  • Workplace injury
  • Wage violations
  • Tax questions
  • Questions about unemployment insurance
  • Medical care
  • Inadequate drinking water or sanitary facilities at work or in worker housing
  • Discrimination complaints
  • Domestic violence

The Native American Unit of Pine Tree Legal
61 Main Street, Room 41
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: Toll-Free from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada 1-800-879-7463
(207) 942-0673
Fax:  (207) 942-8323
TTY:  (207) 942-1060

Specializes in providing free legal services to financially-eligible Native Americans living in Maine and Connecticut. In addition to a wide range of services, the Unit is especially interested in providing help with civil legal problems related to the client’s status as native American, including:

  • Discrimination on the basis of Native American status
  • Problems with Jay Treaty/border crossing issues
  • Indian Religious Freedom Act
  • Indian Child Welfare Act