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History of the Commission on Immigration

Guided by resolutions adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, the Commission works to coordinate and strengthen the ABA’s response to legal developments and to address the needs of immigrants and newcomers. Among our greatest concerns are the erosion of due process safeguards, the growing reliance on detention, and the lack of access to legal information and counsel for individuals in immigration proceedings, including vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied immigrant children and mentally disabled individuals. The ABA Board of Governors has designated immigration to be a legislative priority of the ABA in each Congress since 1992.


The Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law was established by the ABA House of Delegates following House of Delegates approval of a comprehensive package of policies on pending immigration reform legislation.


Advisory Committee to the Immigration Pro Bono Development and Bar Activation Project

Created with a Ford Foundation grant to establish a project to develop pro bono resources in immigrant communities through provision of technical assistance and mini-grants awarded to bar associations.


Merger of Entities: In May 2002, the ABA Board of Governors approved a merger of the two entities into the Commission on Immigration, Policy, Practice and Pro Bono.


Advisory Committee added: The Board of Governors established the 10-member Advisory Committee to the Commission in 2005.


Named Shortened to "Commission on Immigration"


The Commission established the Children's Immigration Law Academy based in Houston, Texas.


The Commission updated the Standards for the Custody, Placement and Care; Legal Representation, and Adjudication of Unaccompanied Alien Children in the United States.


The Commission created its Pro Bono Counsel position to enhance Commission-wide pro bono opportunities. 

The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) information line was established through the Vera Institute of Justice with funding from EOIR (DOJ).

The Commission updated its seminal report, Reforming the Immigration Court System.


CILA expands its services from Texas-based to a national reach.