New Website Connects Pro Bono Lawyers with Immigrants

University of Houston Law Center professor Katherine Brem speaks to attorneys representing children in deportation proceedings. Photo: ABA
University of Houston Law Center professor Katherine Brem speaks to attorneys representing children in deportation proceedings. Photo: ABA

The American Bar Association (ABA) and two partners have made it easier for volunteer lawyers to help child immigrants facing deportation. Lawyers can search for cases in their city and state on a new online platform operated by the ABA Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA).

The new website – Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation – allows pro bono lawyers to find cases anywhere in the country where their help may be needed, as well as offering mentoring support for volunteers. Cases will be provided by legal aid and pro bono programs nationwide.

“Until children in deportation proceedings have the right to appointed counsel at public expense, pro bono attorneys are a key support to the legal service organizations that provide this critical representation,” ABA President Bob Carlson said.

The platform was developed by Florida legal technology company SavvySuit. The ABA’s South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) and Catholic Charities New Orleans also are participating in the pilot project, which is funded by the Vera Institute of Justice.

CILA, based in Houston, trains and supports lawyers who represent children in immigration proceedings. Founded in 2015, CILA builds capacity for those working to advance the rights of children seeking protection through training, technical assistance, and collaboration. It serves legal service providers and pro bono attorneys.

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Rakesh Raman