AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Summer 2012

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Pro Bono Newsletter AILA's Pro Bono Is a Part of Professionalism n AILA Practice and Professionalism Center American Immigration Lawyers Association www.aila.org Summer 2012 IT'S HERE! Kurzban's Immigration Law Sourcebook, 13th Ed. GET INVOLVED TODAY! Help defend DREAMs and keep military families together through AILA's marquis pro bono programs DREAM Defenders (AD2) and Military Assistance Program (MAP). These dynamic national programs offer many opportunities to take on unique cases while represent- ing deserving and inspiring pro bono clients. Contact probono@aila.org for more information. First Prosecutorial Discretion Clinic a Success! by Sabrina Balgamwalla O clinic in cooperation with the For- eign-Born Information and Refer- ral Network (FIRN) in Columbia, Maryland. This community clinic was AILA's response to the pros- ecutorial discretion pilot at the Baltimore Immigration Court that began at the end of 2011, and AILA's concern that pro se indi- viduals were generally not aware of their eligibility for prosecuto- rial discretion or other relief. n March 24, AILA's DC Chapter hosted the first prosecutorial discretion Purchase > FIRN was a natural partner for AILA in this endeavor. The organization has served the immigrant community in Central Maryland for more than 20 years. Currently, its legal services division is anchored by one attorney, Alexis Downs, and one BIA-accredited representative, Pedro Reyes. Alexis, Pedro, and FIRN volunteers Kudos to Susan Timmons of AILA's Practice and Professionalism Center, who developed the Prosecutorial Discretion Toolkit used at the event. conducted community outreach and assisted with logistics and interpretation on the day of the clinic. Most of the clinic attendees learned about the event through direct contact from FIRN. Outreach materials indicated that the clinic was specifically for individuals in removal proceedings. On the day of the clinic, commu- nity members met with volunteer attorneys, who performed a two- tier screening process to determine eligibility for both prosecutorial discretion and independent immi- gration relief. Individuals deemed eligible for relief were given a list of local AILA attorneys who volun- teered to take low-income clients on a sliding scale or pro bono ba- sis. Two students from the Univer- sity of Baltimore School of Law as- sisted with intake, and more than 20 AILA members volunteered to assist either with intake on the day of the clinic or with referrals for full representation. Out of 10 cases reviewed, six individuals were screened as eli- gible for prosecutorial discretion. Three of these individuals were eligible for some other kind of re- lief, including asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. These numbers clearly indicate that the community is still not aware of the prosecutorial discretion program and lack access to legal resources. Sabrina Balgamwalla is a Teach- ing Fellow with the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She served as the 2011-12 Chair of AILA-DC Chapter's Community- Based Organizations Committee. u ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS: Spotlight on Madhu Sharma 2 How Philadelphia Made Citizenship Day a Success 3 Chapter Happenings 4 Pro Bono at AC 5 www.aila.org 1

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