How can I be of assistance in this time of crisis for asylum seekers
June 27, 2018 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I am a lawyer, who has not practiced law for many years. I'm an inactive member of the CA State Bar, and could easily become active if I want to. I didn't practice immigration law and have no expertise in this area. I'm wondering if I can be of some use--maybe the the lawyers just need active bar members to appear on behalf of immigrants in some basic hearing, and I could be trained easily?

I'm not trying to get back to practicing law--I have a job with flexibility to do something if I can be of assistance. I just want to know if there is anything I can do beyond donating to various organizations. I live in Los Angeles, and some of the children who have been separated from their families are here now. Also, I don't speak Spanish, so that might be a deal breaker. Any thoughts?
posted by parkerposey to Law & Government (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Bond hearings in immigration court are a good place for out of practice attorneys with no relevant legal experience or with minimal time and resources to commit to pro bono. VAWA, U Visa, asylum or special immigrant juvenile status cases require 40 hours minimum and a fair amount of resources; bond hearings take a lot less. It's limited scope but requires a lot of client interaction, so language skills can become necessary. This one hour CLE video gives a fair idea of the commitment.

NIJC runs the program here in the midwest, but in conjunction with AILA, so you might check with them for a local opportunity.

Preparing guardianship agreements for parents with citizen children who fear deportation might be a good fit, too. I know here in Illinois it's dead-simple and great for attorneys with neither family law nor immigration experience. If the local Catholic Charities has a law clinic, I'd check with them to see if there's a similar program there.
posted by crush at 11:36 AM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

You can sign up with ASAP, but they are overwhelmed right now.

If you have the flexibility to take a week off and travel to Texas, you can volunteer for the CARA Family Detention Project. However, they may or may not have translation resources available for non-Spanish speakers.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association offers walk-in assistance with status applications. This is not working directly with the imprisoned but the need is still there.
posted by praemunire at 11:36 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oops. Forgot my link. CLE video on immigration bond hearings.
posted by crush at 11:44 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm volunteering through the Immigration Justice Campaign. They have both in-person and remote opportunities.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:50 PM on June 27, 2018

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