Author: Abigail Krusemark, Immigrant Youth Resources Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA), Immigration Advocates Network
Over 100,000 unaccompanied children (UACs) have crossed the United States’ southern border since October of 2013. With more than half of these cases still pending in the nation’s immigration courts and nearly 70% of children unrepresented, the need for pro bono is great. The Unaccompanied Children Resource Center responds to this need by offering free legal resources and highlighting volunteer opportunities for advocates and attorneys.
In some cities, local service providers are collaborating to meet the legal needs of UAC. The UAC website has the latest information on collaborations and volunteer opportunities in Baltimore, New York, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and San Francisco. For each city there is a description and the volunteer coordinator’s contact information. Write-ups for children describe, in simple language, the services these collaborations offer and how to find the organizations at the court. These write-ups simplify the often-confusing court process.
These collaborations use different models of screening, referral, and representation, but most operate out of the court, cover a particular docket or dockets, rotate attorneys of the day, screen children for relief, and refer cases. These collaborations are made possible by attorneys and non-legal professionals who volunteer their time to greet families, conduct intake, translate, and more. Volunteer mentoring is often available.
Find a volunteer opportunity with a collaboration under “Regional Efforts” on the home page, locate a lawyer and resources for clients under “Do you Need Legal Help?”, and learn from practice advisories, webinars, and more under “Are you an Attorney that can help?.”
Do you want to feature your regional collaboration? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Unaccompanied Children Resource Center offers free legal resources and information for advocates and immigrants. This website is a project of the Immigration Advocates Network, American Bar Association, and Pro Bono Net. It includes resources developed by our partners and other immigrants’ rights advocates.
For other pro bono opportunites visit Pro Bono Net’s National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, an online, easy-to-use, searchable directory of of over 1,400 programs providing pro bono opportunities across the country available through probono.net, the flagship site and namesake of Pro Bono Net.