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Southern Poverty Law Center's Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative

Represent A Detainee In Their Immigration Case (Limited Travel)

Posted February 26, 2019

For an immigrant in detention, legal representation can mean the difference between winning and losing their case — between staying with their family and being forced to return to a place that is no longer home. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) enlists and trains volunteer lawyers to assist with the provision of free legal representation to detained immigrants facing deportation proceedings in the Southeast. Right now, we’re representing parents who’ve been needlessly ripped apart from their children — many of them U.S. citizens — as a result of an indiscriminate enforcement regime that’s shattering communities across the country. You can help. SIFI is seeking volunteer attorneys to represent clients at their merits hearings before the Immigration Courts in Georgia or Louisiana, and any related appeals. Volunteer attorneys represent clients in their cases involving asylum, cancellation of removal or other defenses against deportation. This is an incredible opportunity to provide critical services while gaining valuable legal skills including legal research and writing, and oral advocacy. For example, asylum grant rates nationally have hovered almost near 50% while those in Georgia's Lumpkin and Atlanta Immigration Courts have asylum grant rates near 10% or even less. No prior experience in immigration law is necessary. Volunteer attorneys must have an active law license, access to a legal research database and malpractice insurance that covers pro bono work. We ask that all pro bono attorneys taking a merits case agrees to provide any necessary interpretation services. Volunteer Merits Attorneys' tasks can include: -Represent their client at an individual hearing before the Immigration Court in Georgia or Louisiana. -Investigate their clients' case; identify and prepare witnesses, including experts; prepare written filings; prepare their client to testify; serve as their client’s attorney during all court proceedings including trial and hearings. -Participate in mentoring and strategy development sessions with SPLC staff and national experts. -Represent their client on appeal, as necessary. Volunteer attorneys should be available to receive a case in the next six months, work closely on that case until it goes to a merits hearing, and travel to Georgia or Louisiana for the merits hearing, arriving a full day or two prior to the hearing to prepare their client. Volunteer attorneys who take on an appeal are not required to travel to represent a client in-person. The SIFI merits case placement program offers volunteer attorneys an unparalleled opportunity to transform the lives of individual clients, while enhancing their skills – no matter the attorney's area of practice. To learn more visit: https://www.splcenter.org/represent-detainee-their-immigration-merits-case-attorneys-only

This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Additional Information

  • Time Commitment: 21+ hours
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Additional Training Details: Project coordinator will provide training information
  • Site-Preference: On-Site
  • Bar License(s) required: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachussets, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • Required Languages: None
  • Mentoring Provided: Yes
  • Supervision Provided: Yes
Southern Poverty Law Center's Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative

The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society using impact litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides pro bono direct services legal representation to individuals detained at five immigrant detention centers in the Deep South and supports six others.

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