AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Summer 2013

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OLAP from pg.1 >> OLAP also facilitates pro bono representation through its Model Hearing Program by providing training to attorneys interested in representing detained immigrants in immigration court. Since July 2011, OLAP has conducted more than 60 model hearing program training sessions at immigration courts around the country. The trainings consist of small-scale "mock" trial sessions held in the immigration court and presented by volunteer immigration judges. These sessions, presented in cooperation with partnering bar associations or nonprofit legal service providers, provide "handson" immigration court training to small groups of attorneys or law students interested in providing pro bono representation to clients in immigration court. OLAP's BIA Pro Bono Project In January 2001, OLAP began the BIA Pro Bono Project in collaboration with nonprofit organizations, including the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the American Immigration Law Foundation (now known as the American Immigration Council). Since then, participating organizations have screened over 7,800 cases for referral and approximately 850 detained immigration clients have been represented by pro bono lawyers through the program. On the Horizon for OLAP Under a new policy announced in April 2013, OLAP will oversee the provision of appointed counsel to unrepresented immigration detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions that render them incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings. And though there are several twists and turns yet before we see comprehensive immigration reform emerge from the U.S. Congress, current legislation contemplates the expansion of the LOP program as well as government-paid legal representation for the mentally ill, unaccompanied children and other vulnerable populations. Ken Mayeaux is the Chair of the AILA National Pro Bono Services Committee. Hope for Reform Fuels AILA's Largest NDA by Anu Joshi W ith the Senate immigration reform bill on the horizon, AILA's 2013 National Day of Action (NDA) was the largest ever. The momentum for passing comprehensive immigration reform began with the presidential election in November 2012, continued with the release of the Gang of Eight's principles at the end of January and gained speed on April 11 when over 375 AILA members and their clients took to the halls of Congress to offer their expertise, case examples and passionate advocacy in support of reform.  Now, more than ever, members of Congress in both the House and the Senate were eager to speak directly with their constituents and AILA members. This year saw a record number of lobby visits (400-plus!) with the elected officials themselves. In anticipation of the 2013 National Day of Action, AILA created two documents to make the case for common-sense immigration reform.  Our 2013 Resource Guide on Immigration lays out the basic issues any reform must address and provides background information for those entering the debate.  Reforming Immigration for the 21st Century outlines AILA's priorities and principles on the major issues defining immigration reform. Armed with these resources and their own case examples, AILA members made the case for reducing the backlogs in the legal immigration system, maintaining the ability for U.S. citizens u WATCH! AILA members talk about why they traveled to D.C. to participate in this year's NDA. to petition for their siblings, giving discretion to immigration judges deciding individual cases, helping businesses hire the employees they need, and more. Anu Joshi is AILA's Grassroots Advocacy Associate. www.aila.org 3

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