Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)


Nonprofit organization that provides legal services in 68 counties of Southwest Texas and represents migrant and seasonal farm workers in the states of TX, KY, TN, AL, MS,LA and AR.
Link to organization

Primary geographic focus: Texas
Organization type(s): Provider
Acronym or short name: TRLA
Lists: LSC
Tags: Farm and Migrant Workers, Immigration Process, Language Access

TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the nation and the largest in the state of Texas.  TRLA serves approximately25,000 clients each year. However, over 2.6 million residents of Southwest Texas are considered eligible for TRLA services, a ratio of almost 21,000 potential clients per lawyer.

TRLA is funded in principal part by the Legal Services Corporation and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. TRLA also receives smaller grants from a variety of federal, state and local agencies, foundations, and corporations. In addition, TRLA receives funding from the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense to provide public defender services in criminal cases.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents in sixty-eight counties of Southwest Texas, and represents migrant and seasonal farm workers throughout the state of Texas and six southern states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. In addition, TRLA operates public defender programs in several Southwest Texas counties, representing the poor who are accused of felonies, misdemeanors and juvenile crimes.

TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the nation and the largest in the state of Texas. TRLA serves approximately 25,000 clients each year. However, over 2.6 million residents of Southwest Texas are considered eligible for TRLA services, a ratio of almost 21,000 potential clients per lawyer.

There are more than three dozen practice areas in which TRLA attorneys specialize including colonias and real estate, civil rights, environmental justice, labor and employment, public benefits, disaster assistance, federally subsidized housing, foreclosure, bankruptcy, wills and estates, border issues, human trafficking, international child abduction.

Program headquarters are in Weslaco, Texas with branch offices located throughout the state. TRLA also serves migrant and seasonal farmworkers in six southern states with its Southern Migrant Legal Services office in Nashville, Tennessee.

TRLA is funded in principal part by the Legal Services Corporation and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. TRLA also receives smaller grants from a variety of federal, state and local agencies, foundations, and corporations. In addition, TRLA receives funding from the Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense to provide public defender services in criminal cases.



CONTENT MENTIONING/INVOLVING THIS SOURCE

Audio , News Story

How a Texas legal aid lawyer is bringing kidnapped children home from Mexico

Alina Simone
Public Radio International (PRI)
June 3, 2015
Piece detailing the work of Texas RioGrande Legal aid and how they are helping parents whose kids have been kidnapped.

News Story

Supreme Court: Fair Housing Act claims can use “disparate impact”

Trey Garrison
HousingWire
June 25, 2015
Reactions to the Supreme Court ruling that disparate impact claims are constitutional.

News Story

Children of Immigrants Denied Citizenship

Melissa del Bosque
Texas Observer
July 13, 2015
According to a lawsuit, Texas is denying children of immigrants birth certificates.

News Story

​Illegal immigrants sue Texas for denying birth certificates to U.S.-born children

Maya Kaufman
CBS News
July 23, 2015
Texas is being sued over their policy to deny birth certificates to children of undocumented immigrants.

News Story , Video

Legal Group Files to Stop New Harbor Bridge Construction

KIII TV (TX) (local ABC)
August 12, 2015
A Texas legal aid group has filed a federal complaint to halt construction of the new Harbor Bridge and a citizen's group is applauding the effort.

News Story

Texas rebuff of immigrant IDs leaves U.S.-born kids without proof of birth

Rick Jervis
USA Today
August 17, 2015
A recent about-face by state health officials and local clerk's offices on that policy has left dozens of women without the proper proof that their children are U.S. citizens.

News Story

What the Supreme Court’s disparate impact ruling means for lenders

Trey Garrison
HousingWire
September 1, 2015
The Supreme Court ruling on disparate impact is a victory for fair housing advocates, blow to the housing and mortgage finance industry.

News Story

The Front Line Against Birthright Citizenship

Jonathan Blitzer
New Yorker
September 18, 2015
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of other parents across Texas are being denied their children's birth certificate. A lawsuit is trying to stop that.

Feature

The Border War on Birthright Citizenship

Eric Benson
Rolling Stone
October 29, 2015
When Texas began refusing birth certificates to the U.S-born children of undocumented immigrants, a legendary lawyer fought back.

News Story , Video

22 years later, East Austin woman can call house her home

Eric Dexheimer
Austin American-Statesman
November 30, 2015
After 22 years and broken promise by city, East Austin woman can finally call house her home.

News Story

For Mexico’s migrant workers, a push for cross-border justice

Whitney Eulich
Christian Science Monitor
December 14, 2015
Over the past decade, lawyers like Miguel and migrant advocates on both sides of the border have worked together to short circuit a guest-worker system that relies on laborers not knowing they are entitled to legal recourse.

News Story

Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers

Matthew Goldstein, Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times (NYT)
February 20, 2016
Nationwide, more than three million people are estimated to have bought a home through a contract for deed. Now complaints are piling up in cities across the country.

Op-Ed

Help for RGV sex assault survivors

Maricarmen Garza
Monitor (TX)
April 4, 2016
Sexual violence creates an environment of fear, anger and anxiety on campuses, in workplaces and in neighborhoods where it occurs. Sadly, many survivors find themselves re-victimized as they pursue the support and justice they deserve.

News Story

Here’s why low-income households may gamble with homeownership

Sophie Quinton
PBS News Hour
June 1, 2016
Texas passed a law last year that will help McKinney and homebuyers like him claim titles to the properties they’re paying for, the latest in a series of reforms. Other states also are adding protections for buyers involved in this archaic form of financing.

News Story

Cease and desist orders issued against those connected with alleged real estate scheme

Ryan Hill
KFOX-14 (El Paso, TX)
June 1, 2016
The Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending (TDSML) issued cease and desist orders against Thomas Schober, his brother Geoffrey and their company, El Paso Home Buyers, LLC.

Audio , News Story

Legal Aid Groups Aim To Help Poor Families Make Smart Decisions

Courtney Collins
KERA (TX)
August 9, 2016
When you don’t have much money, finding legal representation is a challenge; which is why North Texas legal aid groups want families with limited resources to know, help is out there.

Audio , News Story

In South Texas, Fair Wages Elude Farmworkers, 50 Years After Historic Strike

John Burnett
National Public Radio (NPR)
August 11, 2016
Still, working conditions have improved in the decades since the failed strike.

News Story

Lawsuit against FEMA claims ‘secret rules’ keep residents from getting assistance

Julie Silva
Monitor (TX)
September 16, 2016
A lawsuit addressing many of the same concerns from South Texas residents remains pending eight years after Hurricane Dolly.

News Story

Some Can’t Find New Homes as Demolition of Corpus Christi Public Housing Nears

Alexa Ura
Texas Tribune
September 19, 2016
Mosley and her two-year-old son are among 122 families living at D.N. Leathers, a 75-year-old public housing complex, who must leave by the end of October so the complex can be torn down to make way for reconstruction of the city’s Harbor Bridge.

News Story

Relocation plans change for Leathers

Kirsten Crow
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
September 21, 2016
Relocation plans for a Northside public housing complex are seeing changes about three weeks after attorneys advocating for tenants filed a letter with federal agencies criticizing the program.

News Story

Housing Advocates Fight to Preserve Big Win in Corpus Christi’s Northside

Patrick Michels
Texas Observer
October 12, 2016
Housing advocates say Corpus Christi hasn't kept a promise to help low-income residents — who won a major legal fight against the city in 2015 — relocate to safer areas.

News Story

Child Protective Services Refusing to Help Child Crime Victims with Immigration Visas

Laura Marie Thompson
Texas Observer
December 2, 2016
The agency’s blanket ban on issuing certifications puts an already vulnerable group in a precarious situation.

News Story

Are Obama’s Immigration Prisons for Families Legitimate ‘Childcare Facilities’? Judge Says No

Sarah Lazare
AlterNet
December 11, 2016
Following ruling, nearly 500 mothers and children were released from notorious immigrant prisons in Texas.

News Story

Poor Texans left in dark as state electricity aid program ends

Jim Malewitz
Texas Tribune
January 5, 2017
Low-income Texans are struggling to come to grips with the demise of a longstanding program that helped them pay their electricity bills.

News Story , Video

TRLA Wins Against FEMA Denying Hurricane Dolly Applicants

KFXV-TV (local Fox, McAllen, TX)
February 23, 2017
26 families will have their applications for assistance for Hurricane Dolly, reevaluated– after a district court ordered FEMA to stop using one rule used to determine damages.

News Story

Texas bills target ‘wraparound’ mortgage lending practices

Bob Sechler
Austin American-Statesman
March 13, 2017
Answering advertisements is one way buyers come in contact with unscrupulous lenders who specialize in a practice known as “predatory wraparound mortgages”.

News Story , Video

Texas lawmakers want to tighten legal loophole around ‘wrap mortgages’

Adela Uchida
KEYE-TV (local CBS, Austin)
March 15, 2017
A home mortgage scam is costing some Austinites a lot of money.

News Story , Video

El Paso homeowner nearly loses property because of condo association late fees

Adria Iraheta
KFOX-TV (El Paso)
March 28, 2017
A woman who almost lost her home over a series of late fees is sharing her story.

News Story

Lawyers Gear Up to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Brenda Sapino Jeffreys
Texas Lawyer
August 29, 2017
With Hurricane Harvey rains continuing to drench Houston, bar associations and legal aid organizations are gearing up to provide legal help to hurricane victims, and firms have pledged money to support aid even as their Houston offices remain closed.

News Story

The Legal Crises to Follow in Hurricane Harvey’s Wake

Vann Newkirk
Atlantic, The
August 29, 2017
Lawyers in Houston are acting as first responders, connecting victims with insurance issues, among others, to pro bono assistance.

News Story

For low-income Texans, a tougher road to recovery after Hurricane Harvey

Alexa Ura
Texas Tribune
September 1, 2017
There’s no doubt the lives of tens of thousands of Texans have been upended by Hurricane Harvey, but it's low-income Texans who will face a tougher road to recovery.

News Story

Tenants of flooded rentals have rights

Jesse Wright
Port Arthur News (TX)
September 3, 2017
Many renters may not feel inclined to pay rent on a property that is uninhabitable or only partially habitable and one attorney who specializes in real estate and rental law said tenants may not have to.

News Story

Will past FEMA problems resurface in Harvey recovery?

Mike Snyder
Houston Chronicle
September 4, 2017
The challenges facing FEMA's employees and contractors after Harvey are so overwhelming that the definition of success must be reconsidered.

News Story

Displaced by fire, legal aid attorneys shift to Harvey shelters

Mike Snyder
Houston Chronicle
September 4, 2017
Attorneys gather at Houston shelters after office burns from electric issue.

News Story

Offering Legal Aid After Harvey

Jonathan Blitzer
New Yorker
September 5, 2017
An organization worked to bring relief to Houston residents following the disaster. It didn’t occur to them that they were victims, too.

News Story

First They Fought the Storm; Now, They Fight Their Landlord

Ben Popken
NBC News
September 9, 2017
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many beleaguered South Texas residents are facing demands to pay rent on apartments that are uninhabitable, or that they can't even get to.

News Story

Legal-Aid Groups Fight for Texans’ Disaster Relief

Cameron Langford
Courthouse News Service
September 29, 2017
As Texas hurricane victims struggle to get back on their feet, legal-aid groups are helping them navigate a sometimes baffling federal-aid claims process and push back against landlords eager to evict them from flooded apartments.

News Story , Video

FEMA denies disaster assistance because home is ‘habitable’

Jessica Savage
KRIS-TV (Corpus Christi)
October 9, 2017
Porter's denial story is one of several FEMA denials 6 Investigates has received calls about since Hurricane Harvey.

News Story

Tenants sue after Harvey eviction

Marina Riker
Victoria Advocate (TX)
October 18, 2017
Perez is among four tenants who are suing Crossroads Apartments in Victoria for allegedly removing personal property from apartments rented by families displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Op-Ed

Lawyers step up to help disaster survivors

Hilarie Bass
Houston Chronicle
October 23, 2017
But as the interest in the story wanes, legal needs for the people affected by these storms are just beginning to surface. Disaster survivors' legal problems can be lengthy and complicated. That is where lawyers can help.

News Story

Harvey victims say FEMA hotel program plagued by confusion

Giulia Afiune
Texas Tribune
December 18, 2017
Two Texans displaced by Harvey who say they were kicked off the hotel assistance program are confused by FEMA's explanation — or lack of one.

News Story

Hurricane Dolly Victims Receive FEMA Assistance 10 Years Later

Jennifer Carpenter
KRGV (Rio Grande Valley, Texas)
January 5, 2018
The Rio Grande Valley victims of Hurricane Dolly didn't just weather the storm. They said the road to recovery involved weathering nearly a decade-long court battle.

News Story , Video

Families wait for FEMA help, nonprofit gets results

Jessica Savage
KRIS-TV (Corpus Christi)
February 15, 2018
Some have turned to a group of local attorneys, and are finally getting the help they need.

Investigative , News Story

A High Price to Pay

Caelainn Barr, Charlotte Keith
Texas Observer
July 9, 2014
An in-depth look at the property tax lender Rio Tax and how they leverage high-interest loans to low-income families.



This page last modified: Thu, April 30, 2015 -- 5:45 pm ET