Legal Ethics

New ABA Website Connects Pro Bono Lawyers with Children Facing Deportation

Children Facing DeportationLawyers seeking to provide legal assistance to immigrant children facing deportation now have an easier way to identify those in need. Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation is an online platform that allows attorneys to search available pro bono cases for unaccompanied children who’ve crossed into the U.S. from Mexico, and have been detained by the federal government or released to live with family during deportation proceedings.

The platform compiles cases from across the U.S. as submitted by legal aid and pro bono programs. Attorneys can search cases by geographic location, case type and posting organization. Lawyers can also offer mentoring support to volunteers.

The Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation pilot project is operated by the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Children’s Immigration Law Academy, which provides training and support for those working to advance the rights of children seeking protection. The ABA’s South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) and Catholic Charities New Orleans are also participating. The Vera Institute of Justice is funding the program.

More than 14,000 immigrant children are held in federal detention on any given day, according to the ABA. Thousands of these children seek asylum in front of immigration judges each year with no legal representation. Those who have counsel are five times more likely to win their case.

The ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.1 says that lawyers should render at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services each year to “individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights…”

Moreover, the Preamble of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct makes clear that a lawyer’s obligation extends beyond serving as a client’s representative and an officer of the legal system. As public citizens, lawyers “should seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of service rendered by the legal profession.”

For more information on Pro Bono Matters for Children Facing Deportation, please contact probono@abacila.org.

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