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ABA Immigration Justice Project

Organization Description:

The mission of the IJP is to promote due process and access to justice at all levels of the immigration and appellate court system, through the provision of high-quality pro bono legal services for those in immigration proceedings in San Diego. The IJP serves both detained and non-detained individuals, and recruits, trains, and mentors volunteer attorneys and law students representing clients. Through funding from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the IJP has also implemented a Legal Orientation Program for adult immigration detainees.

With no right to government-funded counsel and a high indigence rate, many appear in immigration proceedings pro se. The lack of representation has dramatic consequences, particularly for those fleeing persecution abroad or facing separation from family in the United States. The IJP aims not only to increase access to counsel for immigrants, but to benefit the judicial system as a whole; legal representation results in higher appearance rates, and more fair, efficient, accurate, and consistent decision-making. The number of immigration appeals has skyrocketed in recent years, and the lack of representation places a great strain on the federal courts - more than 50% of all immigration appeals are handled by the Ninth Circuit alone. In addition, "Notarios" claiming to be immigration lawyers or specialists, who prey upon unsuspecting individuals, are increasingly prevalent in the San Diego area and the IJP aims to expand the scope and quality of representation for those who might otherwise become their victims.

Pro Bono Project Description:

The IJP relies on dedicated pro bono attorneys and volunteers. We are always in need of:

1. Volunteers to take on pro bono cases at both the immigration court and appellate levels.
2. Law student interns to assist attorneys in screening clients, conducting legal and factual research and writing motions and briefs in support of ongoing court cases.
3. Translators who are able to conduct volunteer translation in any language. We have frequent need for individuals who speak Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Somali, Arabic and Creole.
4. Experienced immigration practitioners who are willing to train and mentor volunteer attorneys.

All Immigration Justice Project attorneys are provided with technical assistance, including sample materials, an experienced immigration attorney mentor, and are invited to attend all IJP trainings.

  • County(s) of Volunteer Opportunity: San Diego
  • Area of law: Immigration & Naturalization
  • Populations Served: Asylum Seekers, Communities of Color, Domestic Violence Victims, Immigrants, Low Income, Women
  • Opportunities For: Law Students, Lawyers, Mentors
  • Need for non-English services: Spanish
  • Hours for Pro Bono Opportunities: Flexible, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
  • Malpractice insurance is provided for volunteers: Yes
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Training Required: No
  • CLE credit for trainings: No
  • CLE credit for pro bono: No
  • CLE pro bono comments: Do you want to include contact information for volunteers? The volunteer contact is blank and should be completed.
  • Mentoring or supervision offered: No
  • Volunteer lawyers need to meet a caseload or hours requirement: No
  • Volunteers may participate long-distance: No
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Dorinda L. Foster

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