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As a result of the zero tolerance policy, the government separated more than 2000 children from their parents at the border during the period of mid-April to June. Since children cannot be held in criminal detention, the children are designated as “unaccompanied alien children” and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR places the children in shelters until they are released to a family member, guardian, or foster family. On June 20, President Trump signed an Executive Order intended to halt the separation of families. However, the order instructs DHS to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings and immigration proceedings. The Border Patrol has temporarily halted the referral for criminal prosecution of parents arriving with children, but there is no procedure currently in place to reunite the thousands of families already separated.


Spanish Speakers Needed

If you speak Spanish, have a background in immigration law, and are willing to travel to Harlingen, Texas, please contact ProBAR’s Director of Outreach, Emily Joiner at [email protected]. ProBAR will be organizing delegations of Spanish-speaking lawyers for the foreseeable future but may not be able to schedule immediate volunteer opportunities.

Pro Bono Opportunities

If you are a lawyer outside of Texas, there are still many opportunities to volunteer with immigration legal service providers across the nation. Visit the ABA Immigration Child Advocacy Network (ICAN) website to sign up to provide pro bono legal services and the ABA will refer you to a legal service provider in your area.

Sign - Up

Non-Lawyers Needed

You also do not need to be in Texas or a lawyer to help. Sign up to become a Young Center Child Advocate. The Young Center is a close ABA partner and their Child Advocates meet one-on-one weekly with a detained child and assist Young Center staff in advocating for that child’s best interests

Sign - Up

Law Student Opportunities

If you’re a law student, several organizations are asking for your help. Discover how you can get involved locally and nationally with this comprehensive list of opportunities including grassroots advocacy groups and non-profit organizations.

Discover - How

Learn More

Get more information about the family separation and detention crisis including ABA presidential statements, ABA news, current legislation, additional resources, and ABA programs and partners.