OIA Grantee Spotlight: Al Otro Lado

Since its founding in 2014, Al Otro Lado has provided legal and humanitarian support to refugees, deportees, and migrants. CNM collaborated with the LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) to provide grants to immigrant-serving nonprofits – and Al Otro Lado was one of the selected grantee organizations. We recently spoke with Al Otro Lado’s team to learn about their work and how the OIA grant program is helping them accomplish more for their clients.

“Most of our work revolves around asylum in the immigration courts and offices,” said Karina Licea, Lead Department of Justice-accredited Representative at Al Otro Lado’s Maywood office. “We also do U-visa cases for victims of crime, T-visa cases for human trafficking, and family petitions.”

According to the UN Refugee Agency, a combination of factors including poverty, gang violence, political turmoil, gender-based violence, and climate crisis drive thousands of Central Americans to seek asylum. Navigating U.S. immigration processes presents many challenges to asylum-seekers; in an interview with The Guardian, Nicole Ramos, director of Al Otro Lado’s Border Rights Project, called the organization’s mission of counseling and supporting migrants “the work that never ends.”

Al Otro Lado recognizes that its clients have more needs beyond legal counsel. Karina told us: “[Our clients] might be suicidal, struggling with not having a home, having some sort of addiction, being hungry, and having issues in their homes.”

Through the OIA grant program, the organization was able to hire its first-ever social worker, Nathalia Mora. With a primarily policy-focused background in social work, Nathalia found herself finding meaning in making direct connections with clients. She’s helped Al Otro Lado’s clients by lending an understanding ear, checking on their safety, and connecting them with other organizations to provide additional support.

Karina praised Nathalia’s work, saying: “We’ve seen it impact clients in really beautiful ways, where families now have some sort of stability, safety net, and somewhere to turn. That helps us in our immigration work because clients who have their basic needs met are able to engage in their immigration case.”

We’re inspired by Al Otro Lado’s accomplishments and look forward to hearing more about ways the OIA grant program is helping immigrant-serving nonprofits serve their communities.

To learn more about Al Otro Lado, visit their website and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

About the OIA Grant Program

The LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) grant program is funded by the County of Los Angeles, allocated from American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, and administered by CNM. This grant program intends to provide direct investments to immigrant-focused community-based organizations. Learn more about the OIA Grant program

Sign up for CNM's eBlasts

Required *