Oregon Worker Relief’s

Immigrant Justice Program

Exclusion in the Time of Pandemic

Under a racialized immigration system designed to exploit people and push them out beyond the margins of society, the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare and exacerbated dangerous inequities for immigrant Oregonians. Nearly every aspect of life in Oregon was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like people all around the world, Oregonians gained perspective on the interconnectedness of our communities. The pandemic made clear that our health and prosperity are inextricably linked with the health and prosperity of our co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members. But it was also quickly apparent that the pandemic was worsening existing inequities for immigrant Oregonians, particularly those who are people of color with a precarious immigration status.

Oregon Worker Relief’s Immigrant Justice Program seeks to eliminate barriers to pandemic relief caused by precarious immigration status. As documented and explained in Oregon Worker Relief’s report, Narrowing the Gap, the historic exclusion of these underserved communities from social and civic safety systems and recovery structures has urgent short-term implications, such as housing and food insecurity, and profound long-term implications, including marginalization, erasure, family separation, and civic exclusions.

How can we narrow the recovery gap?

Oregon Worker Relief is a community-governed initiative that uses an equity-focused design thinking approach to solve for the short-and long-term negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the underserved immigrant and refugee communities. We can solve for the immigration legal precarity experienced by immigrant and refugee communities prevents access to health systems and health care, civic support systems such as unemployment and rental support, food assistance and other aspects of civic life. Oregon Worker Relief’s Immigrant Justice Program directly addresses these long-standing inequities by providing immigration legal services to immigrants and refugees impacted by the pandemic who were left out of the pandemic recovery.

Immigrant Justice Program

The Immigrant Justice Fellowship program provides new and emerging lawyers with an opportunity to work directly in the impacted immigrant community. Using a competitive process, new and emerging attorneys from Oregon law schools and other schools will apply for up to 6 fellowships for the 2021-2023 term.  There will be a strong preference for candidates who are Oregon law school graduates; can contribute to the Oregon bar’s historically or currently underrepresented membership; and can demonstrate a commitment to advancing immigrant rights. Community-based Organizations serving the Portland metro area can apply to host an Immigrant Justice Attorney.


Applications Released9/27/2021
Fellowship Q&A Session (optional, pre-register below)9/29/2021 4.30pm
Applications Due10/13/2021 4.00pm
Finalists Selected10/22/2021
Match Day10/27/2021
Fellowship Start Date11/1/2021

Apply to be an OWR Immigrant Justice Attorney

If you are an attorney or recent law graduate, download the FAQ for more information.

Applications due October 13, 2021 4pm Pacific.

Apply to be a host organization

If you are a Community-Based Organization, download the FAQ for more information.

Applications are due October 13, 2021 4pm Pacific.