By Vanessa Montoya, NWIRP Staff Attorney
Working in Eastern Washington is very important to me because it is my home. In our Granger office, we benefit from having longtime staff members who have been with the organization since the very beginning. And because we are a small office, it feels like an extension of my own family. As the child of Mexican immigrants, my earliest memories involved watching my parents walk their paths to citizenship alone. I remember thinking it would calm their fears to have someone on their side. And now, as an attorney, I see my parents in the hopefulness and bravery of my clients. I enjoy empowering my clients as they navigate the immigration system.
Our connection with Radio KDNA
Part of NWIRP’s history with the Granger office is partnership with Radio KDNA. Our long standing relationship with the station includes our Granger staff’s involvement with a monthly radio show on their airwaves. This unique partnership allows us to provide people with critical immigration updates and is a great way to connect with the Eastern Washington community. We’ve had staff get really creative with this program – we’ve invited guest experts to conduct Q&A sessions, performed skits about people’s rights, and tackled a variety of cutting edge topics. We might feature research on a topic like marijuana use for non-citizens or how owning a firearm might impact their immigration claims.
Legal representation on wheels through NWIRP’s Mobile Advocacy Project
Our Granger office currently meets with clients who travel to our office from all over the region, including Yakima, Walla Walla, and the Tri-Cities. But for many potential clients, getting to Granger can be difficult. Many potential clients might not have access to a vehicle or might not be able to take time off work to make the hour-long drive each way. Thanks to a grant from the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, our Granger and Wenatchee offices are able to provide services to clients throughout Eastern Washington through our new Mobile Advocacy Project.
My role in this project is providing assistance to community members in Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla county. In 2019, I started laying the foundation for this work by building relationships and connections with different social service providers in these areas, including the YWCA of Walla Walla. And while this work is more challenging during the current pandemic, my Wentachee office colleague Favio and I are looking forward to providing virtual help to these communities during the public health crisis.