Connecting Cultures partners with the Vermont Immigration Assistance (VIA) Project of the Vermont Law School. The VIA Project provides expert legal services for survivors of torture, representing individuals in their applications for asylum, as well as filing applications for family reunification, employment authorization, adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence, and citizenship. VIA also consults with individuals and other service providers about an array of legal issues pertaining to immigrants and refugees. While it is commonly estimated that between 5% and 35% of refugees and asylees are survivors of torture, close to 70% of VIA's asylum cases are brought by survivors of torture.
Direct legal services include assistance with asylum cases, family reunification petitions, adjustment of status petitions, work authorization petitions, and other legal consultations. During the asylum process, clients receive direct legal representation as well as asylum case preparation and management. During family reunification, adjustment of status, and/or work authorization petitions, clients receive direct legal assistance including assistance in completing and filing the claims. Finally, Connecting Cultures attorneys consult with other Connecting Cultures providers regarding legal concerns such as criminal charges and federal benefits.
While the Connecting Cultures psychological domain meets the need for psychological evaluation and therapeutic support during this arduous process, VIA simultaneously meets the legal needs of survivors.