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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.

ABA COI Pro Bono Trip to ProBAR

Check out the Commission’s new video spotlighting the recent pro bono trip to the Rio Grande Valley! Members of the Commission on Immigration and attorneys from Fried Frank volunteered for a week at ProBAR. They helped 142 recently arrived migrants apply for work authorization as part of ProBAR’s Access to Work program, and assisted individuals in ICE Detention to prepare for their Credible Fear Interviews. Thank you again to the volunteers for their hard work and to ProBAR for their dedication to empowering immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley through high-quality legal information, representation, and connections to services.

Executive Actions benefiting Mixed-Status Families and Graduates

We are proud to present another explainer video by COI Senior Legal Advisor Deena Sharuk on the Administration's executive actions to benefit mixed-status families and provide visas to those who graduated from U.S. colleges and universities. Find out who may be eligible, how they can prepare, and the potential impact these executive actions will have on qualifying immigrants. Remember, there is no application process available yet! Speak to a qualified immigration attorney or DOJ Accredited Representative if you have questions. More details will become available over the next few months.

"Securing the Border" Proclamation and Interim Final Rule

Watch this explainer video created by COI Senior Legal Advisor Deena Sharuk that provides basic information about the Administration's “Proclamation on Securing the Border” and its impact on asylum-seekers. Learn about how this executive action is being implemented at the U.S. southern border, who it applies to, and how it is being challenged in court.

Electronic Monitoring of Migrants: Punitive not Prudent

Across the United States every day, hundreds of thousands of migrants find themselves in de facto detention due to electronic monitoring. A global positioning (GPS) device affixed to their ankle or a cellphone in their pocket with the SmartLINK application tracks their every move. The Government asserts that its use of electronic monitoring, as part of the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, is a cost-effective alternative to detaining migrants to ensure that they attend all their Immigration Court hearings, report as required for immigration check-in appointments, and submit to removal from the country, if so ordered. Despite the name, however, electronic monitoring programs are not true alternatives to detention. They are an expansion of detention that imposes a significant financial cost on taxpayers and a considerable human toll on the participants and their family members.

Read the - Report

Immigration Enforcement Mechanisms at the U.S. Southwest Border: The Only Constant is Change

The ABA Commission on Immigration and the ABA Section of the Civil Rights and Social Justice hosted a webinar to offer up-to-date information on enforcement mechanisms at the southwest border including the implementation of the new, abbreviated removal process dubbed Circumvention of Lawful Pathways. Immigration enforcement at the U.S. southwest border has been an ongoing focal point for evolving policy and public discourse, but the manner in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implements its enforcement actions at the border is often opaque.

Watch - Webinar

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

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

The Border Primer has been updated! 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

Read articles written by experts from the Commission's staff and members who share analyses, insights and reflections on the state of our current immigration system, from the border to Capitol Hill and beyond.

Read - Here

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.

Read - Here

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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Immigration Updates

News, Press Releases, and Updates from the Commission on Immigration

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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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Pro Bono Opportunities

The Commission on Immigration provides many opportunities to make an impact through pro bono service. Click here to read more about the life-changing work done by our volunteers, and to learn more about available volunteer opportunities.

Make a - Difference

Job Openings

The Commission's projects in Texas and California are currently accepting applications for immigration-related positions.

Contact Us

Find contact information for the ABA Commission on Immigration

Request Media Credentials

ABA media credentials are available to reporters, editors, producers, video camera operators and still photographers who present valid press identification