Can any lawyer help an unaccompanied immigrant child facing a court hearing alone?
Yes, they can, says ABA President William Hubbard, and the place to start is with ICAN—the Immigrant Child Advocacy Network.
The network, created by the ABA Working Group on Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants, is an online clearinghouse of information on the issue of unaccompanied immigrant minors and how lawyers can volunteer to help such children who are facing removal proceedings in U.S. immigration courts. The website provides links to training materials and information sessions for interested lawyers, as well as to fundraising efforts to continue the education and training.
“We step forward all the time to help,” Hubbard says. “This one’s a real challenge. It’s a big problem. To get lawyers trained is going to require an organized effort.”
Hubbard hopes the website will be an informational hub not only for individual lawyers, but also for state and local bar associations to join in the recruitment and promotion campaign.
“We’re focused on children, and we’re focused on the law of the land,” he adds.
The website also links to another information portal, the Unaccompanied Children Resource Center, which focuses on resources for immigrant children and families in need of legal and social help. The center website is a project of the ABA, the Immigration Advocates Network, and Pro Bono Net.