Battered Immigrant Project

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Battered Immigrant Helpline

Toll-Free: 1 (866) 204-7612

3:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Tuesday
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Thursday

​Free help for immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. Learn more: Battered Immigrant Project

Our intake line is available for low-income immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking who are seeking free immigration assistance.  

About

The Battered Immigrant Project (BIP), part of our Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative​, provides free immigration assistance to immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.  The BIP represents qualifying applicants across North Carolina in immigration matters including: 

  • Self-Petitions and Petitions to Remove Conditions for victims of domestic violence who are married to (or recently divorced from) U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who abuse them 
  • U Visas for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking 
  • T Visas for victims of human trafficking 
  • Applications to Adjust Status (to become a permanent resident) for self-petitioners, U visa holders, and T visa holders 
  • Removal defense for qualifying victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking

​BIP attorneys work with domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and immigrant rights advocates across the state to provide them with information about the rights of immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.  Through the DVPI, staff in local LANC offices, as resources allow, represent immigrant survivors in legal matters such as: 

  • Domestic Violence Protective Orders 
  • Family Law issues 
  • Public Benefits
  • Housing issues

Brochures

Our Team

Leah Arnold is a Senior Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project where she has worked since 2015.  Leah obtained her B.S. in Journalism with a certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida in 2011, and her J.D. with a graduate certificate in global transmigration studies from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2015.   She is fluent in Spanish.  


Taylor Connell is a paralegal with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project where she has worked since 2022. She obtained a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Furman University in 2022 and plans to attend law school in the future. She is fluent in Spanish.   


Anna Cushman is a Staff Attorney within Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. Before coming to Legal Aid of NC in 2019, Anna worked at a small immigration law firm in Greensboro, NC for six years. Anna obtained her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Wake Forest University in 2008 and her J.D. from Campbell Law School in 2012. She is a Board-Certified Specialist in Immigration Law and is fluent in Spanish. 


Patricia Dykstra-Lalangui is a paralegal with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project where she has worked since 2005. Patty obtained her degree in Business Administration from Miami Dade College in 2002 and her NC paralegal certification in 2007. She is fluent in Spanish. 


Amanda Hinnant is the Supervising Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. Before coming to Legal Aid of NC in 2010, Amanda worked as an elementary school teacher prior to attending law school. She obtained her B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and her J.D. from Charlotte School of Law in 2010. She is fluent in Spanish. 


Will Johnson is a Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project. He has worked with Legal Aid of NC since 2013. Will obtained his B.A. in Political Science and Peace & Conflict Studies from Guilford College in 2006, and his J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2012. He is fluent in Spanish. 


Rona Karacaova is the Managing Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project.  Before coming to Legal Aid of NC in 2002, Rona worked with Connecticut Legal Services for three years and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont for one year.   Rona obtained her B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University in 1993 and her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 1998.  She is fluent in Turkish and proficient in Spanish and French. 


Dora MacDonald is a paralegal and Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, where she has worked since 2008. Dora obtained her law degree from Libre University in Colombia in 1998 and her paralegal certification from Penn State University in 2007. She is fluent in Spanish. 


TeAndra M. Miller is a Managing Attorney and the Statewide Director for Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Project. TeAndra has worked with Legal Aid of NC since 1994. She obtained her B.S. in Communications from the University of Iowa, a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University, and her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law. 


Jalal Nadimi is a paralegal and Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, where she has worked since 2013. Jalal obtained her law degree from La Universidad Católica de Santa Maria in Arequipa, Peru in 1994. She is fluent in Spanish. 


Cara Palmer is a Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, where she has worked since 2020. Cara obtained her B.A. in History with a minor in Human Rights from the University of Southern California in 2013, her M.A. in History and a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights from the University of Connecticut in 2015, and her J.D. and a Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies Certificate from Georgetown University Law Center in 2020. She is fluent in Spanish. 


Jennifer Robinson is a Senior Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project where she has worked since 2016.  Jennifer obtained her B.A. in Women’s & Gender Studies from Dartmouth College in 2011 and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015. She is fluent in Spanish. 


Heather Ziemba is a Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project, where she has worked since 2022.  Prior to coming to Legal Aid of NC, Heather founded and managed the Immigrant Justice Program at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and was also in private practice as an immigration attorney.  Heather obtained her A.B. in political science from Duke University in 1993 and her J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1996.  She is a Board-Certified Specialist in Immigration Law and is fluent in Spanish. 


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