Lack of legal representation in immigration proceedings is an acute issue, particularly in southern New Mexico and West Texas. A lack of either pro bono or low cost immigration attorneys is probably the biggest reason why so many respondents are left with no other option than pro se. Volunteers are often seeking information on how to help the detained migrants they visit or write to obtain pro bono legal help. This post provides some resources.
- Probably the most comprehensive pro bono immigration attorney list is https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org/
- Another source to check is the American Immigration Lawyers Association search: https://www.ailalawyer.com/.
- Lastly, there is also the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s listing, which probably doesn’t have any entries not covered in the other two lists, but worth checking anyway. https://www.justice.gov/eoir/list-pro-bono-legal-service-providers
If the person you are visiting speaks English, the it can be helpful to making a list, mailing it to them, and encouraging them to make the calls directly. It is much better for a prospective client to speak directly to the attorney rather than having a visitor mediate. As calls are expensive, at the stage of seeking an attorney, supporting a person with a little cash to make the calls can really help. If the person you are visiting does not speak English the visitor volunteer can try calling the pro bono attorney offices on behalf of the person they are visiting. However, but since the visitor volunteer isn’t the client it is hard to make the connection–but in a pinch still worth a try. It is truly difficult to find an attorney and is a big part of the reason ABA and ALIA are pushing for court appointed attorneys for immigration cases.