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Commission on Immigration

The Commission directs the Association’s efforts to ensure fair treatment and full due process rights for immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees within the United States.

Diverse Voices of the Immigration Bar Video Series

We are excited to announce the release of our COI Diverse Voices of the Immigration Bar Video Series! The series focuses on lawyers who identify with the communities and clients whom they serve. The goal is to explore, through storytelling, diversity in immigration law; the challenges faced by diverse lawyers in this practice area; and advice about how to deal with these challenges. Through these videos, the Commission On Immigration hopes to contribute to normalizing a culture of openly discussing burnout and secondary trauma within law school settings, nonprofits, government agencies, and law firms.

Watch - Here

ABA Commission on Immigration Pro Bono Trip

Pro Bono Trip to the Rio Grande Valley

Pro Bono Counsel Stephanie Baez highlights the Commission on Immigration’s recent trip to Brownsville, Texas. Together with our colleagues at ProBAR, the Commission hosted a delegation of volunteers who provided volunteer legal services at the border.

Watch - the video

PRACTICE ADVISORY: Common Obstacles when Representing Afghans in Immigration Proceedings

This practice advisory is intended to orient practitioners navigating common obstacles in the representation of Afghan asylum-seekers in the United States. The advisory illuminates the complexities of these matters by discussing the historical context of the crises in Afghanistan, common types of Afghan asylum cases; commonly applied bars to asylum; potential ethical issues; considerations for Afghans arriving at the Southern border; and an appendix of tools and resources.

Download the advisory - here

Border Primer: Immigration Enforcement Mechanisms at the U.S. Border

It is with great excitement that the Commission would like to announce the publishing of new Border Primer! The U.S. southern border has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny by policy makers, legislators, the federal judiciary, and the media. This primer aims to provide a broad introduction to the enforcement mechanisms employed at the U.S. southern border for practitioners and others seeking to understand them. Major contributions were given from Commission members Denise Gilman, Melissa Crow, Deena Sharuk, as well as Commission staff.

Read - The Primer

ICE Detention Standards: Immigration Detention Facilities’ Responsibilities and Detained Individuals’ Rights: A Guide for Practitioners

This resource was envisioned and drafted by COI Special Advisor Dora Schriro, to help inform practitioners who work with individuals in ICE detention centers about ICE detention standards. We are very proud to offer this resource because it does not only summarize the most salient detention standards, but it also provides useful information on how and where to make complaints when individuals’ rights are violated.

Download The Guide - Here

Generating Justice: Immigration Reflections from the Border and Beyond

On this Commission on Immigration blog, experts from the Commission's staff and members share analyses, insights and reflections on the state of our current immigration system, from the border to Capitol Hill and beyond.

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ABA Detention and LOP Information Line 2021 Annual Report

Read here for our inaugural annual report for the Information Line. The ABA Commission on Immigration’s Detention & Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Information Line provides legal information on immigration matters to callers in ICE custody throughout the nation. The Information Line conducts orientations via phone and sends out pro se materials to further assist detained individuals, and is the only national information line of its type. Read here for details on its operations and trends throughout the last year.

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Achieving America’s Immigration Promise: ABA Recommendations to Advance Justice, Fairness and Efficiency

This document lays out the ABA’s top policy recommendations in the immigration system for the new administration. The document is divided into five sections, all priority areas for ABA policy and advocacy efforts: I. Reform the administrative adjudication process; II. Ensure access to counsel: III. Minimize reliance on immigration detention; IV. Restore humanitarian protections; and V. Preserve the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children.

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A Guide For Family & Friends Of Individuals In ICE Detention

When a friend or family member is arrested and placed in immigration detention, it can be devastating. It is common for family and friends to wonder: What happens next? What are my loved one’s rights? What resources are available to help them? This guide describes Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) responsibilities to detained individuals.

Download The Guide - Here

Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation

Thousands of children must face immigration judges each year without appointed counsel. With representation, asylum seekers have a five times greater chance of winning their case. Follow the link for pro bono opportunities nationwide to support children . Funded by the Vera Institute of Justice, "Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation" allows lawyers to search and share available pro bono cases for unaccompanied children (UC) detained by the federal government or released to live with family members while in deportation proceedings.

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Make Justice - Real

Pro Bono Matters for Families Facing Deportation

Click below to explore pro bono opportunities to help families who have been placed on the Family Group Dedicated Docket in eleven different cities nationwide. These families are recent arrivals to the United States who have been placed in Alternatives to Detention (ATD) and put on a special docket where the goal is to resolve their cases within 300 days. Your pro bono assistance is crucial to ensuring these families can accurately present their cases and pursue their due process rights. Click below to explore our innovative platform find an opportunity to help a family either remotely or in a city near you.

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Family Group Dedicated Docket Pro Bono Manual

The ABA Commission on Immigration (COI) is excited to share our FREE Family Group Dedicated Docket Pro Bono Manual. This comprehensive, 160+ page guide is designed to assist volunteers who are representing families on the Dedicated Docket, but the information is broad enough that it will be of use to any practitioner working on a non-detained removal case. The Pro Bono Manual includes sections on Common Forms of Relief in Immigration Court and before USCIS; Effective Representation; Ethical Considerations; an Introduction to Immigration Court; an Introduction to USCIS; and Practical Pointers. In addition to digestible information, the Manual provides links to specific resources and checklists to help with representation. COI will periodically update the Pro Bono Manual as information change.

Read - Here

Donate to the Commission on Immigration

The Commission on Immigration appreciates your donations that will help us to continue our work ensuring due process rights for the immigrant community. We thank you in advance for your generosity!

Our Projects:

South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR)

The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) is a national effort to provide pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the United States government. The project recruits, trains and coordinates the activities of volunteer attorneys, law students and legal assistants.

ProBAR - Website

Immigration Justice Project (IJP)

The Immigration Justice Project (IJP) of San Diego seeks to promote due process and access to justice for indigent immigrants and asylum-seekers through the provision of high-quality pro bono legal services for individuals appearing before the San Diego immigration court and in subsequent appeals as needed.

Learn more - IJP

Children's Immigration Law Academy

The Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA), is an expert legal resource center created by the American Bar Association (ABA). CILA builds capacity for those working to advance the rights of children seeking protection through trainings, technical assistance, and collaboration.

CILA - Website

Detention and LOP Information Line

The ABA Commission on Immigration is seeking talented law clerks and interns to assist in cutting-edge, individualized assistance to detainees held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Intern - With us

Know Your Rights

To help ensure America's commitment to justice for all, the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration has produced an updated version of "Know Your Rights," an educational video for the more than 400,000 men and women held in immigration detention facilities across the country each year.

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ABA Scholarship for Legal Advocates

Recognizing the challenge of delivering legal services to the tens of thousands of Afghan parolees who must apply for permanent status to remain in the United States, the American Bar Association has partnered with Villanova’s VIISTA program to fill the gap. This intensive training program prepares students to become accredited representatives and teaches them vital skills to represent clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Immigration Court. After the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, tens of thousands of Afghans were evacuated to the United States. Today, there is a great need for culturally competent advocates who can communicate in Dari and Pashto and understand the realities facing this population.

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Tu Futuro, Tu Voz

The ABA Commission on Immigration is proud to share the video: Tu Futuro, Tu Voz (Your Future, Your Voice), featuring four young adults from Central America who crossed into the United States as unaccompanied minors. This video was created as a resource for youth who are currently undergoing immigration proceedings, and the lawyers who represent them.

Pro Bono Opportunities

Kindly complete this survey at your earliest convenience to receive information about volunteer opportunities with the ABA Commission on Immigration and its projects.

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