The website, Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation is part of the ABA’s Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA). Since 2015, CILA, which is based in Houston, has served both legal service providers and pro bono lawyers who represent children in immigration-related proceedings. CILA also provides training, technical assistance and collaboration opportunities to pro bono lawyers and legal services providers who represent children in immigration proceedings.
“Thousands of children must face immigration judges each year without appointed counsel. With representation, asylum seekers have a five times greater chance of winning their case,” according to the new website.
Federal law does not provide legal representation to migrants, including children, who enter the United States illegally and must appear in federal immigration courts. Many lawyers offer free, or pro bono services, but given the massive influx of immigrants on the Southwest border since 2014, many lawyers who want to help don’t always know how to best reach clients, especially the children.
“Until children in deportation proceedings have the right to appointed counsel at public expense, pro bono attorneys are a key support to the legal service organizations that provide this critical representation,” ABA President Bob Carlson said in a press release.
The website provides a way for pro bono lawyers across the nation to search for cases posted by civil legal aid providers to address legal relief for unaccompanied children who have crossed into the United States from Mexico. Attorneys can search for cases by geographic location, case type and posting organization. Cases will be provided by legal aid and pro bono programs nationwide and include mentoring support. Some examples of case requests posted Friday include:
- “Teen from C. America. Gang murdered
parent. Other parentabandoned. Childlived with relatives who couldn’t protect or support him. Childsays gangs target teens without family. Needs representation in Seattle.”
- “Central American girl fled after being targeted because of sexual orientation. MS gang member was forcing her to be his girlfriend, wanted to “change” her”
4 year‐oldgirl fled abuse by her father in her home country. Reunified with motherwho seeks to obtain custody along with juvenile visa findings. State juvenile court and immigration court appearances required. LA barred attorney needed.”
The project is funded by the Vera Institute of Justice.