What Kind Of Pro Bono Programs Are In Play At The Southern Border?

The immigration crisis at our southern border continues while the Trump Administration attempts to make changes to immigration law in order to classify how migrants got here illegal — even though by law they had no other way of going through the process. That’s why so many big law firms are opening their arms to those who need it the most, especially amidst crackdowns on immigrants who are already living here.

In fact, out of 2000 targeted immigrants in recent ICE raids, only 50 were caught. The immigration enforcement agency blamed the lack of “success” on social networking and media campaigns aimed at teaching people their basic rights, i.e. they can’t come into your home without a signed warrant. Basically, it’s working — so keep up the good work.

The ABA Commission on Immigration made a pro bono trip to the southern border this past April to offer advice and other kinds of expertise. They provided food to a migrant shelter and even basic medical services where none were to be found otherwise. These trips will continue to occur at least once a month while the crisis is in play.

Part of the process is simple coaching for those preparing for immigration or asylum interviews. 

A few volunteers even made the trip over the border to Mexico in order to meet others who had come seeking asylum in the United States. One member of the ABA, Mary Ryan, said “Obviously, the ABA has been aware of the needs. I mean, one of the major things we try to do is get people legal information…To Understand and see firsthand how desperate people are to know what they can do.”

Ryan works pro bono because she knows it means everything to the people she helps — especially when they feel they have no way out of terrible circumstances, like many of the migrants at the border.

She began her immigration routine in 2014, but she knew she needed to start learning Spanish to be as effective as possible. Today she knows the most important part of immigration or asylum as a process is the availability of legal representation — because those who get pushed through without it usually get pushed through in the wrong direction.

It’s also important to know that the government keeps records of conversations with those who have sought or achieved asylum. This is useful to both sides for obvious reasons.