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USCIS Stakeholder Engagement on the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law and Building Capacity of Immigrant Serving Organizations April 14, 2011 EOIR.

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Presentation on theme: "USCIS Stakeholder Engagement on the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law and Building Capacity of Immigrant Serving Organizations April 14, 2011 EOIR."— Presentation transcript:

1 USCIS Stakeholder Engagement on the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law and Building Capacity of Immigrant Serving Organizations April 14, 2011 EOIR Legal Orientation & Pro Bono Program Steven Lang, Coordinator

2 Pro Bono Program Since April, 2000 Aim – To improve access to legal information, advice and counseling and increase rates of representation for individuals appearing before the Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

3 Pro Bono Program Strategy: Design and implement initiatives to facilitate access to information and create new incentives for attorneys and law students to accept pro bono cases.

4 Legal Orientation & Pro Bono Program Four main initiatives: 1) Legal Orientation Program (LOP) 2) Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children (LOPC) 3) BIA Pro Bono Project 4) Model Hearing Program

5 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Created through Congressional Appropriation in Fiscal Year 2002 based upon success of 1998 DOJ Pilot Program, and other similar programs (Florence Project) For all detained respondents prior to initial Master: *Group Orientations *Individual Orientations *Self-help Materials / Workshops * Pro Bono Referral

6 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Carried out through contract with Vera Institute of Justice and subcontracts with local non-profit organizations Local immigration court coordination Local ICE / CDF coordination

7 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) *Helps detained respondents make more informed decisions earlier in proceedings * Faster completion times * Fewer days in detention * Improved access to legal information & counseling

8 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Current sites: 1. Eloy, Arizona 2. Pinal County, Arizona 3. Port Isabel, Texas 4. Tacoma, Washington 5. Lancaster, California 6. Willacy County, Texas

9 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Current sites (cont’d): 7. Aurora (Denver), Colorado 8. Houston, Texas 9. Pearsall, Texas 10. Batavia (Buffalo), New York 11. York, Pennsylvania 12. Berks County, Pennsylvania

10 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Current sites (cont’d): 13. Otay Mesa, California 14. San Diego, California 15. Hudson County, New Jersey 16. Monmouth County, New Jersey 17. Essex County, New Jersey 18. Bergen County, New Jersey

11 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Current sites (cont’d): 19. Orange County, New York 20. Krome (Miami), Florida 21. Miami, Florida 22. El Paso, Texas 23. Otero County, New Mexico 24. Stewart (Lumpkin), Georgia

12 Legal Orientation Program (LOP) Current sites (cont’d): 25. La Salle (Jena), Louisiana 26. Hampton Roads, Virginia 27. ICA Farmville, Virginia

13 LOP FY 2010: Over 62,000 detained respondents served Approximately 50% of all detained aliens in EOIR removal proceedings Orientations and written materials cover: What to expect from an attorney? Beware of unauthorized practitioners!

14 LOP San Diego non-detained LOP Miami non-detained pilot: Immigration Judge refers to LOP provider individuals who have been unable to secure counsel and who do not appear to understand the nature or purpose of the proceedings, such as those who may be mentally incompetent.

15 Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children (LOPC) Authorized under TVPRA Section 235(c)(4) In cooperation with HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement Carried out under contract with Vera Institute and through subcontracts with nonprofit organizations Launched in October 2010 at four sites Expanded in March 2011 to 13 sites total

16 LOPC Current LOPC sites: Phase I: 1) Los Angeles, California 2) New York, New York 3) Houston, Texas 4) Harlingen, Texas

17 LOPC Current LOPC sites (cont’d): Phase II: 5)Boston, Massachusetts 6)Newark, New Jersey 7)Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 8)Washington, DC 9)Charlotte, North Carolina 10)Atlanta, Georgia 11)Miami, Florida 12)Dallas, Texas 13)San Francisco, California

18 LOPC Potential to reach 75% of all UAC Custodians (Sponsors) by end of first year

19 BIA Pro Bono Project Since January 2001 NGO / Pro bono attorney driven Access facilitated through technology Over 700 cases placed with pro bono Recently celebrated 10 th Anniversary Focus primarily on detained appeals

20 Model Hearing Program (MHP) Practical and relevant “hands-on” immigration court training to small groups of attorneys and law students with IJ volunteer in courtroom. Useful tool for improving quality of advocacy and increasing levels of pro bono representation. Approx. 50 Model Hearings held since 2001

21 EOIR Committee on Pro Bono “EOIR Committee on Pro Bono” formed pursuant to Attorney General Measure#22 Committee consulted with representatives from government, nonprofit organizations, bar associations, private law firms. Committee drafted “Recommendations to Expand and Improve EOIR’s Pro Bono Programs.” OPPM Guidelines for Facilitating Pro Bono Legal Services Designated Pro Bono Liaison Immigration Judges

22 Thank you


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