To champion the dignity and human rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking through exceptional immigration legal services at no or low cost, education and advocacy

  • “High quality legal representation is essential for justice. This is especially true for immigration law. The skilled attorneys and staff at American Gateways are dedicated to justice, and I am proud to endorse them.”

    Dan Kowalski

    Editor-in-Chief, Bender’s Immigration Bulletin (Lexis Nexis)
  • “Gracias a este programa que nos ayudó a cambiar el futuro de nuestra familia. Un futuro positivo y prometedor donde ya tenemos lo que necesitamos para ser exitosos por varios años más. Mil Gracias American Gateways por cambiar la vida de 6 personas, nuestras vidas.”

    English translation: Thanks to this program that helped us change the future of our family. A positive and promising future, where we would have everything that we need to become successful for years to come. A thousand thank yous to American Gateways for changing the lives 6 people, our lives.


  • “American Gateways provides an enormously valuable service to some of those most in need in our community – detained immigrants and asylums seekers in Texas’ sprawling detention system. They are also a partner on community efforts like Grassroots Leadership’s Hutto Visitation Program that better the lives of those in detention and build a support system for immigrants in Texas.”

    Bob Libal

    Executive Director, Grassroots Leadership
  • “The work of the American Gateways team inspires hope and compassion. Those who have the opportunity to collaborate with them quickly see how their professional services come in tandem with a dedication to understating the often complex human experiences of every individual. They invariably go above and beyond as collaborators to foeste the resilience and strengths of those they serve.”

    Corinna Jay

    MSSW, Caseworker, Refugee Services of Texas
  • “As a community partner, I have had the chance to work closely with American Gateways staff over the last several years. Regardless of who I am working with, the staff uniformly treats our mutual clients and me with the utmost respect, patience and professional courtesy. American Gateways works tirelessly to address the high need for low-cost immigration assistance in our community and I cannot praise the work and services they provide enough!”

    Amelia Harrington

    Economic Empowerment Program Coordinator, Asian Family Support Services of Austin (AFSSA)
  • “We have partnered with American GAteways for more than 14 years! This partnership has resulted in life-saving advocacy work and services for immigrant survivors living in Burnet, Blanco, Llano, and Lampasas counties. We have witnessed the fear, apprehension, and uncertainty of lives touched by domestic violence, compounded by barriers only immigrant survivors experience. Because of American Gateways, we have seen families experience the relief, joy, happiness, and fulfillment of lives transformed, safe and secure! Together we save lives every day and foster a new generation free from violence!”

    Alma Lahmon

    Executive Director, Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center
  • “American Gateways has provided training to our case managers on changes in immigration law and community resources. They regularly provide invaluable legal support to Saint Louise House families in need of immigration legal services, playing a huge part in helping families stay together, feel more secure, and gain financial stability.”

    Moriah Looten

    Counselor and Case Manager, St. Louise House
  • “American Gateways has changed my life forever. This program helped me overcome my life barriers obstacles. The staff always remained trustworthy, friendly, and professional. I am now continuing to better my life by furthering my education in college. Thank you American Gateways!”

    Andrea L.

    former client
  • “Austin has always been a city that offers a hand to those seeking political asylum in the USA. American Gateways gives the kind of free legal help that makes that offer of assistance tangible and meaningful. One of my favorite non-profits in Austin.”

    Frank Cooksey

    Former Mayor City of Austin
  • “For more than 25 years, American Gateways has been providing free and low-cost legal services to immigrants in the Austin area. Because of American Gateways, many immigrants have been able to establish their legal right to live and work in the in the United States.”

    Sarah Woelk

    Co-Director, Casa Marianella Legal Clinic
  • “As one of the founders of the original Political Asylum Project of Austin, now American Gateways, I can attest to the commitment of the organization over the past 29 years to providing quality immigration services to immigrants in our community and in remote detention centers.”

    Barbara Hines

    Founder and Former Director of the University of Texas Immigration Law Clinic
  • “American Gateways is one of the most important service providers for immigrants across Texas. I have seen their staff step in to provide crucial legal services that have helped hundreds of families and in the process transformed lives.”

    Cristina Tzintzun

    Founder and Former Executive Director of the Worker’s Defense Project
  • “I know of no other organization that does as effective legal and advocacy work as does American Gateways on behalf of immigrant victims of family violence, people seeking asylum, and victims of human trafficking. The dedication, competence, and compassion of the staff is exceptional.”

    Jim Harrington

    Founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project

Our History

American Gateways has served the Central Texas immigrant community since 1987. Founded as the Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA), we began as a dedicated group of volunteers working to serve increasing number of refugees fleeing war in Central America. Since then we have grown to provide a broad range of immigration legal services to low-income individuals and families throughout the region. Our new name reflects our expanded services and our objective of promoting the rights of our clients through every portal of immigration relief.

Who We Serve

  American Gateways serves the low-income immigrant communities in Austin, San Antonio, Waco, and throughout Central Texas. In addition to the cities of Austin, San Antonio, and Waco, we serve twenty-three counties in the region, including Bastrop, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Comal, Coryell, Falls, Fayette, Frio, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Lampasas, Lee, Limestone, Llano, McLennan, Milam, San Saba, Travis, and Williamson.

What We Do


American Gateways is one of the largest immigration legal services providers in Texas. Our clients receive culturally sensitive, trauma-informed legal representation from start to finish of a case. Our staff are experts in the areas of:

  • Asylum (for individuals and families fleeing persecution in their home country)
  • Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) Petitions (for battered spouses, parents, and/or children)
  • T Visas (for survivors of trafficking)
  • U Visas (for survivors of certain types of violent crimes that occurred in the U.S.)
  • Representation before the San Antonio Immigration Court
  • Permanent Residency and Naturalization
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Family-based Petitions

American Gateways is also the only nonprofit in the state to provide legal orientation, immigration workshops, and pro bono legal representation at three immigrant detention facilities. Our Austin office serves the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas. Our San Antonio office serves the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, Texas and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas.

Apply For Services



A central feature of our mission is to engage and educate immigrant communities, as well as local stakeholders, about immigration law and process, an individual’s rights within this process, and forms of relief for which an individual might be eligible. If you or your organization is interested in a training from our staff, please submit a training request below.

Request a Training



American Gateways (“AG”) does not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, race,  color, national origin, sex, age, disability, political beliefs, or religion when providing services to  its clients. AG does not discriminate in its provision of services to anyone on any basis.  

Who We Are

Meet our Team, Board of Directors and Advisory Board

Who We Are


314 E. Highland Mall Boulevard, Suite 501
Austin TX 78752-3733

Get Directions

Phone:(512) 478-0546 ext. 200
Fax:(512) 387-2650


2300 W. Commerce Street, Suite 313
San Antonio, TX 78207

Get Directions

Phone:(210) 521-4768 ext. 232
Fax:(210) 625-6797


2323 Columbus Avenue, Suite C
Waco, Texas 76701
*By Appointment Only

Get Directions

Phone:(254) 230-0382 ext. 264
Fax:(512) 387-2650