How to Help Now
For ABA members and others who want to help now, there are a number of options:
Volunteer with or Donate to ProBAR in Harlingen, Texas or the IJP in San Diego, California
At this time, ProBAR can only accept volunteers who are fluent in Spanish, can commit to staying at least one month and are available to help screen children at one of the 15 shelters in the area. In order to contact ProBAR, e-mail the Director, Kimi Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Manager of the Children’s Project, Meghan Johnson at email@example.com.
If you do not meet the criteria to volunteer, you may still support this work by making a contribution to ProBAR or the IJP through the ABA’s Fund for Justice and Education at the following link: https://donate.americanbar.org/immigration
Attend the ABA-KIND Trainings presented throughout the year in various cities across the country
Two in-person training and information sessions are planned at ABA meetings in the fall 2014. In Chicago, on Friday September 12 from 11 am-12:30 pm there will be a free CLE accredited KIND training and informational session at the Chicago Hyatt (part of the BLS stand-alone meeting, but no registration fee required to attend the KIND training); this session was timed to coincide with the Section Officers Conference fall conference and we are encouraging SOC meeting attendees to attend, learn about the project and adopt it as a pro bono project for their ABA entities. If you are interested please email Leslie Archer at the ABA BLS office so she can ensure sufficient seating (Leslie.Archer@americanbar.org).
In San Antonio, on Saturday, October 25, from 8:00 am-12:30 pm the ABA GPSolo Division will host an expanded KIND training and recruitment session at the San Antonio Hilton Palacio del Rio. That session is also free, open to all lawyers and law students and is CLE accredited. This expanded program will include a mock hearing, Immigration 101 and also a session on representing children as clients. If you are interested in attending the San Antonio KIND training session please email Dee Lee at the ABA GPSolo office (Dee.Lee@americanbar.org) so we can ensure sufficient seating.
It is anticipated that additional sessions will be conducted in 2015 at GPSolo and BLS meetings, and we hope other ABA entities will join the ABA-KIND partnership and host training sessions at their stand-alone meetings.
Volunteer or Work with Raices in San Antonio, Texas
Raices (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) is providing services to children detained in San Antonio and at the Lackland Air Force Base. They are currently seeking to hire several attorneys and paralegals on a short-term basis to provide direct services to children. You can find out more about Raices by going to their website at: http://www.raicestexas.org/
Volunteer with Catholic Charities in Oklahoma
Catholic Charities is just beginning to provide services at Fort Sill, a military base 85 miles South of Oklahoma City. If you are interested in volunteering with them, fill out a volunteer application at the following website: http://helpkids.catholiccharitiesok.org/
Donate Toward Social Service Efforts
If you would like to donate toward serving those who have been released you can check out the following websites of agencies that are providing support to newly arrived Central Americans in the Rio Grande Valley, the area where ProBAR is located.
South Texas Refugee Response
La Posada Providencia, a shelter run by the Sisters of Divine Providence:
The Sacred Heart Church in McAllen is serving released families:
Volunteer with one of the Pro Bono Agencies that Serves Released Children
Finally, lawyers can contact one of the following agencies that coordinate pro bono services for released children and offer to take a case:
KIND: Kids in Need of Defense: http://www.supportkind.org/en/
USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants: http://www.refugees.org/
Share Your Ideas
The Commission is interested in working collaboratively with ABA entities and other stakeholders please feel free to contact us with your ideas and plans to address this complicated and compelling situation.
For more information, contact:
Christina Fiflis, Chair, ABA Commission on Immigration, firstname.lastname@example.org
Meredith Linsky, Director, ABA Commission on Immigration, Meredith.Linsky@americanbar.org, 202-662-1006.
Excerpted from the ABA Commission on Immigration's full statement, A Humanitarian Call to Action: Unaccompanied Alien Children at the Southwest Border.