August 2013

On August 15th, Pro Bono Net and its partners in the Own the Dream Campaign, celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with the launch of Pocket DACA, a new mobile app, which will help immigrants brought to this country as children understand the DACA process.  DACA provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization for young Americans who were brought to the U.S. as children and lived in the U.S. for five years before June 15, 2013.  According to a Brookings Institution report on the program more than half a million people, out of approximately 900,000 thought to be eligible at the start of the program, applied for DACA through June 2013.

A person who qualifies for DACA can apply for a work permit and get a social security number.  Since the announcement last year, immigration advocates have been working to ensure that young immigrants have access to useful tools that will allow them to take advantage of this opportunity.

To that end, the Immigration Advocates Network, the American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Pro Bono Net joined forces with mobile app developers at Mobisoft Infotech to create Pocket DACA. The free app is available for download from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores and offers information, resources, and tools to help individuals understand and apply for Deferred Action. A group of DREAMERS have created a terrific promotional video; and an AILA produced how-to guide is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTUm1dRezB8.

“Our goal with Pocket DACA is to empower those who may be eligible for Deferred Action to better understand the requirements and find reputable legal help, but also to engage more deeply with potential applicants about their experiences and concerns,” said Matthew Burnett, Director of the Immigration Advocates Network. “By offering an interactive self-screening tool and contact information for local legal services providers, the app increases the chances that eligible young immigrants will be successful in their request. The generation of young immigrants who can benefit from DACA are incredibly tech and social-media savvy. This app will put them in the driver’s seat when it comes to their future.”

In the less than two weeks since it launched, the app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. Pocket DACA leverages the power of technology and social media and offers young immigrants:

  • A self-screening tool to help users to understand their eligibility;
  • A searchable directory of listings for nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states;
  • Links to news about the deferred action process;
  • Frequently asked questions, and more.

You can download Pocket DACA for Android and iOS at www.weownthedream.org/pocketdaca.

Since 2011, the Practising Law Institute (PLI) has helped us champion the necessity of pro bono as one of our Bronze Corporate Sponsors. PLI is dedicated to providing attorneys with information and techniques to develop a professional, competitive edge and recognizes the importance of pro bono in helping attorneys cultivate their skills, develop time management and give back to their communities. We are pleased to share with you some information about their upcoming August 12th program on Defending Immigration Removal.

Immigrants without legal representation face a significantly higher risk of removal regardless of their eligibility for relief. Over half of the immigrants facing removal proceedings go unrepresented.

PLI’s Defending Immigration Removal Program 2013 will provide a comprehensive overview on how to effectively represent immigrants in removal proceedings, and review new developments in the law.  This year the program will also cover special issues in representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients including the impact of the recent Supreme Court decisions.

In addition, attendees will learn about representing children, Violence Against Women Act claims, ethical issues, options available to clients with criminal convictions, and recent developments in asylum law.

Parisa Karaahmet, of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewry is the Chair of this program and expert faculty from government, legal services and private firms will share their knowledge and experience.

Scholarships are available.  Access scholarship information here – http://www.pli.edu/Content/Pro_Bono/_/N-8q