AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Fall 2013

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CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: ARIZONA CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: CONNECTICUT CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: WASHINGTON On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced a new policy aimed at removing the threat of removal for young people who are low enforcement priorities. This policy ultimately became known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Since August 2012, the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AZ-AILA) has continued its commitment to assist DREAMers who cannot afford legal services to apply for DACA. In partnership with the We are America/Somos America Coalition, the Arizona State Bar, the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, and community churches, AZ-AILA created The No Dream Deferred Campaign to assist individuals applying for DACA. The Connecticut Chapter's participation in several DACA clinics was so well received that one grassroots group asked the Chapter to participate this spring in "Immigration Fairs" in the cities of Meriden, New Britain and New London, Connecticut. A group of pro bono attorneys from the Connecticut Chapter traveled to each fair and provided brief pro bono consultations for the fair attendees. While most questions were immigration-related, others ranged from family law (divorcing a spouse left in Mexico) to social security. The main area of interest was "La Reforma." Volunteer attorneys provided information about the status of legislation, warnings about notarios and scams, and a handout about getting ready for immigration reform. In return, the volunteers were welcomed with a lively atmosphere and good food! On August 23, the Washington Chapter volunteers and the OneAmerica program coordinator had their first planning meeting for Washington's 2013 Fall Citizenship Day. AZ-AILA attorneys continue to work together with community-based organizations to provide updated information and assist with DACA clinics across the state. Their assistance in providing the nutsand-bolts about DACA both in and out of removal proceedings is oftentimes the only legal advice many applicants have before they apply. Each month, since the initial mega-clinic on August, 25, 2012, AZ-AILA attorneys have continued to assist and support our youth in Arizona. AZ-AILA continues to assist applicants begin the application process or respond to Requests for Evidence (RFEs). The most recent DACA workshop was in Flagstaff, Arizona (Northern Arizona) on September 28, 2013. Recently, the majority of applicants are minor children who recently turned 15 years of age and are ready to get their first jobs. It feels great knowing we continue to do our part in making a difference in another's life. —Marysol Angulo, Pro Bono Liaison, Arizona Chapter It's not too late to take the AILA Member Pro Bono Pledge! Pledge now and report your hours at the end of the year. In celebration of Labor Day weekend and, thanks to DACA, the new members of the workforce, one Chapter member put together a program on labor rights. The program, which was sponsored in part by the Mexican consulate, included a presentation on the rights of workers to be paid regardless of immigration status. The Connecticut Chapter plans to focus on the state's new law related to unauthorized practice, including by both educating affected populations and advocating for enforcement. Specifically, the unauthorized practice of law is now a felony under the new law and the law also criminalizes notarios who fail to disclose that they are not attorneys. —Joanne Lewis, Pro Bono Liaison, Connecticut Chapter Hosted by the Chapter and OneAmerica, Citizenship Day is a one-day free legal clinic open to permanent residents who would like to become U.S. citizens. Citizenship Day makes it possible for otherwise eligible individuals who cannot afford to hire an attorney to complete their applications. Last year, over 375 volunteers provided generous support to Citizenship Day held in April and October and 622 individuals received professional assistance in nine cities across the state. This year's Fall Citizenship Day will take place from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on October 26, 2013 at four different locations throughout the State of Washington. The hosting cities include Olympia, Pasco, Des Moines and Wenatchee. Olympia is a new location this year, opened in order to provide better service to counties in southwest Washington and the Olympic peninsula. These four clinics are expected to serve over 200 individual clients. Each client will receive quality legal services and inspiration from our devoted volunteers on his or her way to becoming a U.S. citizen and fulfilling the American dream. Volunteers are indispensable in making the Fall Citizenship Day a success. Chapter members are encouraged to sign up. —Qingqing Miao, Pro Bono Liaison, Washington Chapter Take the Pro Bono Pledge! 8

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