Family Separations at the Border: How You Can Help

UPDATE: JULY 31, 2018

  • In response to the family separation crisis arising from the U.S. Department of Justice “zero tolerance” policy, the Vance Center has launched “Keep Families Together,” an initiative to provide pro bono legal assistance in Latin America to children in the United States detained or otherwise separated from their families, as well as to their families. In late July 2018, the Trump Administration reported that there may be as many as 468 parents who were deported while their children remain in custody in the United States.

UPDATE: JULY 16, 2018:

  • One of the most prominent organizations responding to the family separation crisis is RAICES, based in Texas. It is currently sponsoring a fund to both directly support legal services for detained separated parents, and to get parents released on bond. You can learn more about RAICES, or directly support its bond fund.
  • The New York Immigration Coalition is sponsoring a 40-hour, 26-CLE-credit comprehensive overview of immigration law for New York attorneys, which will allow individuals to represent clients before DHS under certain circumstances. Information is available here – the training occurs Sept. 10-14, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, and the application deadline is August 24 (or until capacity is reached).

Many members of the New York City Bar Association have asked how they can help families at the southern border. We offer the following on how to get informed and be involved.

UPDATE: JULY 13, 2018:

  • The ABA has a resource page on “Family Separation and Detention,” including volunteer opportunities. 

For general reference and education, the American Immigration Council put together this very informative piece on asylum law, and The City Bar Justice Center will release a podcast soon on the current immigration situation.

Lawyers galvanized to help by the zero tolerance policy should seek out organizations with proven track records and long-term engagement with issues specific to immigrant families and unaccompanied minors. The New York Immigration Coalition provides a comprehensive list of opportunities for New York lawyers in this document.

There are a variety of ways to get involved both in New York and remotely, including remote bond representation for detained parents. Released parents are in a better position to reunite with their children and to pursue their immigration case. The City Bar is exploring remote bond representation opportunities as well as other actions specific to the current crisis.

Finally, many families here in New York City are actively seeking pro bono counsel for both affirmative immigration applications and representation in removal proceedings. Contact the City Bar’s Immigrant Justice Project if you would like to take on a case, and for more information on pro bono opportunities at the City Bar Justice Center, please email Kurt Denk. To donate to the Justice Center’s work representing immigrants, please click here.

This post will be updated with additional resources as they become available, so please check back here for the latest information.