The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
April 24, 2012

Pro Bono in Practice: Immigration

People across the country and around the world will be watching closely when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow on the bitterly disputed immigration enforcement law that was passed two years ago in Arizona, inspiring similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah.  Arizona’s law, known as SB 1070, expanded the powers of state police officers to ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop and to detain those suspected of being illegal immigrants. The Obama administration challenged the law, and federal courts suspended several of its most contentious provisions.  Numerous firms, working pro bono, have filed amicus briefs in the case.

The case reminds us that immigration law is still a hot topic.  Pro bono lawyers can play important roles in ensuring that vulnerable people caught in the web of complex immigration laws, policies, and detention are treated fairly and humanely.  The tip of the iceberg of the broad range of representative pro bono clients and matters include asylum applications and appeals; immigrant victims of domestic violence; victims of human and sex trafficking; religious, political, and sexual orientation persecution cases; juveniles and unaccompanied minors; housing and employment discrimination; and comprehensive reviews of immigration court and detention systems.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the podcast and on-demand versions of our program: “State Immigration Initiatives: Arizona and Beyond – Pro Bono Needs and Opportunities.”  This program is designed for lawyers of all backgrounds who are interested in learning about a wide variety of immigration-related pro bono opportunities.  Leading practitioners and advocates explore emerging legal issues and pro bono opportunities, as well as larger collaborative efforts where law firms, legal departments, and public interest organizations can work together.  Additional topics include how pro bono lawyers can get involved and get started; and examples of pro bono engagements that range from individual representations to fact-gathering and FOIA work to policy advocacy and system re-design.

CLE credit is available in many states.  Registration is free of charge to Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms.  Please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Christine Sutherland for the promotional code.

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