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January 12, 2022

ABA links pro bono lawyers with families facing deportation in 11 cities

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2022 – The American Bar Association has begun a nationwide campaign to offer legal support to families facing a new, faster deportation process in 11 U.S. cities.

The ABA campaign includes a new website – Pro Bono Matters for Families Facing Deportation – that lists cases of families in those 11 cities who need representation. The website offers volunteer lawyers a chance to help families navigate the faster court process. The campaign will also include a pro bono manual and training sessions for lawyers who want to help.

“The need for pro bono lawyers right now is huge,” ABA President Reginald Turner said. “The ABA believes that all families facing deportation deserve meaningful access to legal counsel. Given the violence that many asylum-seekers and immigrants face in their home countries, this is often literally a matter of life and death.”

The ABA effort was prompted by a new “dedicated docket” process for some immigration courts, created in May by the federal Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. The agencies touted the new process as faster and fairer for families that arrive between ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under the “dedicated docket” process, immigration judges in 11 cities work to issue decisions within 300 days of an initial hearing. Currently, those cases often take years to conclude. The new process is being tried in Boston, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

With faster dockets, the need for representation is even more urgent. To help families facing deportation in the 11 cities, the ABA is teaming up with legal service providers who coordinate asylum and immigration legal assistance in those cities.

Reporters seeking more information about the ABA’s campaign can contact Marc Davis at [email protected]. Lawyers who wish to volunteer can submit a Volunteer Interest Survey and indicate they are interested in the “dedicated docket” in the notes section, or email Adonia Simpson at [email protected]

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.