ProBAR

What We Do

ProBAR empowers immigrants through high quality legal education, representation, and connections to services. 

Each year, more immigrants seek refuge and opportunity by entering the Rio Grande Valley than cross the U.S.-Mexico border in any other region. Thousands are detained in South Texas by the Department of Homeland Security. 

The children and families primarily come from Central America, while adults traveling without children come from countries around the world. Many travel to the United States seeking protection from violence and persecution. All encounter an immigration system which does not afford them the right to appointed counsel. They must find an attorney or represent themselves in court. 

Language barriers, a lack of familiarity with U.S. law and court procedures, and limited financial resources present formidable obstacles to winning relief from deportation. Nonetheless, many qualify for humanitarian relief such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and others. ProBAR’s services give immigrants a chance to gain safety and stability in the United States.  

 (c) Michelle Frankfurter, 2011

(c) Michelle Frankfurter, 2011

Our Services 

ProBAR informs immigrants about their rights within the immigration process. We offer:  

  • Legal orientations for adults in immigration detention

  • Child-friendly “Know Your Rights” presentations for detained unaccompanied children

  • Legal orientations for custodians of unaccompanied children

ProBAR represents many immigrants in their legal cases and offers pro se assistance when full representation is not possible. We provide:  

  • Representation before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Board of Immigration Appeals 

  • Representation in Texas district court as relevant to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases

  • Representation in U.S. district court in select cases

  • Advocacy for release on bond or parole 

  • Pro se assistance with applications for relief or release

ProBAR connects immigrants with legal and social services they need to effectively pursue their immigration cases. We make: 

  • Legal referrals for unaccompanied children released to sponsors in other parts of the U.S.

  • Social service referrals for immigrants facing pressing needs 

Where We Work

Our team serves children who have been detained without their parents in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). In addition, we serve children who have been released from ORR custody to live in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties in Texas. Due to the number of unaccompanied children typically detained in our community, our work reaches some of the highest numbers of children nationally. 

ProBAR also operates a Legal Orientation Program that serves adults detained at local immigration detention centers:  

  • Port Isabel Detention Center  

  • El Valle Detention Facility

Recognizing the immense vulnerabilities faced by asylum-seekers subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols who have been forced to remain in Mexico while their cases are pending, ProBAR also serves people subject to this program in Matamoros, Mexico. 

For more information about our services or to request assistance, please contact us

(c) Michelle Frankfurter, 2011

(c) Michelle Frankfurter, 2011

Legal Resources and Training Materials

In 2003, ProBAR established the Immigrant Children’s Assistance Project, focused on providing legal services to unaccompanied children detained in South Texas shelters. Since that time, ProBAR has developed expertise in working with Central American children and produced several videos sharing best practices including general tips on working with Central American children, how to best conduct “Know Your Rights” presentations and effective individual screening services. We hope these videos will assist others in their efforts to serve this highly vulnerable population.

 (c) Michelle Frankfurter, 2011

(c) Michelle Frankfurter, 2011

Additional Resources

"When I won asylum I promised myself in my heart, and I promised the Judge from my heart that I would not let her down. From that moment my goal was to give the best of me and do something good with my life. When I won my case with ProBAR, my life changed color. To be there was like the start of a great beginning."

-Claudia

National Honor Society member, won asylum in 2007