(updated September 26, 2014) As you are undoubtedly aware, as immigration attorneys, we are currently faced with the challenge of how to best respond to the needs of unaccompanied minors and other recent entrants whose cases are being fast tracked at EOIR and the Asylum Office and who may have no ability to afford private counsel. In addition, many recent entrants are facing ongoing detention or strict supervision, even those who have passed credible fear interviews, causing further difficulties to representation. This special page has been set up to keep you up to date on resources, trainings, and volunteer/donation opportunities.
- AILA National’s Resources on the Central American Humanitarian Crisis
- Letter to Senator Feinstein – July 16, 2014
Special Events and Trainings
Bar Association of San Francisco: Ongoing Need for Volunteer Attorneys of the Day
The humanitarian crisis at the southwestern border in which tens of thousand of children and families are seeking safe haven in the United States has led to a series of policy reforms and proposals. One of the most immediate reforms is now playing out in our nation’s immigration courts. The White House has instructed the courts to prioritize the cases of unaccompanied juveniles and families arriving at the border (this does not include those already living in the interior) and schedule their first Master Calendar hearing within three weeks of receipt of the Notice to Appear. The San Francisco Immigration Court has responded by scheduling the first batch of juvenile and family dockets (i.e. master calendar hearings) beginning the week of July 30, 2014. Although there are already plans underway to establish a released juvenile docket by February 2015 (a collaboration between the SF Immigration Court and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto), immediate assistance is needed to ensure that the court’s recently scheduled dockets are staffed with knowledgeable and experienced attorneys until a more sustainable system is put in place.
How to Get Involved: To volunteer at one of the dockets you must join the Attorney of the Day (AOD) panel through the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF). BASF will be accepting applications to join the AOD panel on a rolling basis and scheduling attorneys to master calendar hearings. Please fill out the application form and send directly to BASF at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The Application Form can be found here: Volunteer Attorneys Needed for Court’s UAC Docket – Application Form. BASF will send further information about mandatory trainings and resources available to you if you are interested in volunteering.
- Artesia Detention Center
AILA Northern California is proud to send a contingent of pro bono attorneys to the family detention facility in Artesia, NM from October 12-17. Ten AILA Norcal attorneys will be at the facility from October 12-17. We are proud to support these important efforts! Our team is a group of highly skilled attorneys who work with local nonprofits, as solo practitioners, and at small firms. Without volunteers, detainees would have no representation and face speedy removal. Several local and national news sources will be covering the delegation and our efforts in Artesia.
As you likely know, Artesia houses hundreds of mothers and children fleeing violence in Central America. Conditions there have been widely condemned, and there are allegations that detainees are being removed very quickly and with little due process. Because Artesia is so remote, legal representation is almost exclusively from pro bono attorneys throughout the country. More information on Artesia is available on the AILA national website or at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/us/us-faces-suit-over-tactics-at-immigrant-detention-center.html?_r=0
How can you help?
Please consider making a donation – as little or as much as you can. If every member donates just $10, we will be sending a delegation of 10 attorneys! If you can make a donation toward travel costs, please do so at:
If you would like to donate airline miles, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that all volunteers will not only be working pro bono, often for over twelve hours a day, but will be responsible for any travel costs not covered by the chapter or these fundraising efforts. Therefore, any amount will help. Additionally, because attorneys will need to make travel arrangements in the coming weeks, it is even more helpful if you are able to donate soon.
To make larger tax-deductible donations, you may make the donation to the American Immigration Council at : https://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8531/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=8356, and designate the funds to “NorCal Chapter” in the Designation Code field.
Thank you for your support!