AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Winter 2011

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CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: WASHINGTON, D.C. CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: CHICAGO CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: PHILADELPHIA; N.J. The DC Chapter will participate in AILA’s national Citizen- ship Day on April 30. For the fourth consecutive year, AILA DC will plan to run naturalization workshops in Norfolk, Virginia, Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland in partnership with several local NGOs. In August 2010, the chapter initiated a partnership with the Consulate General of El Salvador. Members engaged in an effort to re-register Salvadorans for TPS before the Septem- ber deadline. The partnership evolved into a weekly attorney rotation at the Salvadoran consulates in the area, where bilingual AILA attorneys provide free legal assistance. On October 25, 2010, the pro bono committee of AILA’s DC Chapter co-sponsored a Panel titled “Immigration Pro Bono Opportunities: Representing Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and Women Fleeing Gender Based Violence,” with the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia. The AILA Pro Bono Court Committee partnered with Asso- ciated Catholic Charities, the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center and the Baltimore Immigration Court to sponsor a model hearing program in April 2010. AILA provided train- ing to 25 attorneys in preparation for their mock hearing put on by the Baltimore Immigration Court. Judge Kessler conducted the hearing and ICE chief counsel George Mau- gans represented DHS. In return, the attorneys pledged to take one pro bono case from Associated Catholic Charities within one year of the training. We are happy to report that 20 of the 23 participants have taken pro bono cases so far. The AILA Chicago Chapter has a long standing relation- ship with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS), jointly providing free consultations during a monthly clinic for low income individuals who are in need of immigration advice. The monthly clinic is held on the second Wednesday of each month and approximately 5 to 7 individuals are seen each month by volunteer AILA attorneys. The Chicago Chapter also has a New Americans Initiative (NAI) Committee that serves as a liaison between AILA and the various not-for-profit partners in and around Chicago that provide citizenship workshops. AILA members screen potential applicants for naturalization at the workshops. There have been several workshops in the past year and more are scheduled for 2011. The biggest event is set to coincide with Citizenship Day 2011. After considerable work with the local ICE office, and local detention facility staff, and with the cooperation of EOIR, in particular the Pro Bono Liaison judge, the Chicago Chap- ter’s Access to Legal Services for Detainees Committee has launched a Know Your Rights presentation project using video conference equipment whereby Know Your Rights presentations can be broadcast to detention facilities. The Chicago Chapter provides Know Your Rights presentations two times a month at McHenry County Jail, the facility with the largest detained population. In addition to the members of the Committee, fifteen chapter members have volunteered to participate in the presentations. Detainees also are provided with the option for one-on-one telephone consultations. Philadelphia In December, the Philadelphia Chapter held trainings in conjunction with Volunteers for the Indigent Program, HIAS, and Council Migration Service. The first two train- ing sessions addressed representation of political asylum seekers and cancellation of removal applicants before the EOIR. The third training was a mock hearing conducted by Immigration Judge Charles M. Honeyman. These trainings were open to all attorneys who agreed to take on a pro bono case. The chapter also has been working on a one-time project to provide stewardship for the immigration clients and files of the late Lisa Baird, Esq. This project involved more than 20 AILA Philadelphia Chapter members and other volun- teers who contributed at least eight hours each to review files and complete representation of outstanding matters. New Jersey In partnership with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), the New Jersey Chapter accepted 10 cases of unaccompa- nied children for pro bono representation. AILA attorneys are pursuing relief options including special immigrant juvenile status, asylum, and voluntary departure for their clients. As of February 2010, the Newark Immigration Court created a juvenile docket for all children’s cases. Separately, two members pursued petitions of review before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in asylum and temporary protected status cases. Another member suc- cessfully obtained asylum for an Albanian family. 5

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