The ACLU has been challenging the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies across the country. We recently achieved two major victories here in Southern California. First, because the government’s “zero tolerance” policy has resulted in the detention of far more immigrants and refugees than it has normally held at any given time, the government has been imprisoning immigrants at federal prisons, including the federal prison in Victorville, CA, while they await deportation hearings, even after their sentences are over (and even when they were never charged with crimes). The government was holding those detainees incommunicado at the federal prisons, denying access to legal assistance and preventing immigrants from communicating with family members. Last week, we won a temporary restraining order forcing government officials to provide immigration detainees in Victorville with access to counsel; we are currently negotiating with the government to expand that access. Second, we won a nationwide injunction in San Diego ordering the reunification of thousands of parents and children forcibly separated by immigration enforcement officials within 30 days (and within 14 days for children under 5).
Call for volunteers
Over the past several weeks, we have been encouraged and inspired by the outpouring of support from the legal community to stand up for the most vulnerable amongst us. We and our partners have received thousands of offers to volunteer. We could absolutely use your help!
We are working with Immigrant Defenders Law Center and other groups, such as the Innovation Law Lab, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and American Immigration Council, to provide immediate legal assistance for the detainees in Victorville, who include parents separated from their families and many people eligible for immediate release on bond. We need volunteers lawyers to assist with:
• Screening detainees to determine whether they are eligible for bond or to be reunited with their families.
• Preparing detainees for credible fear interviews and potentially representing them in those interviews.
• Representing detainees in bond hearings.
We are also seeking assistance from lawyers or other volunteers with language skills to help translate for attorneys who only speak English. We are seeking folks who can interpret in the following languages:
• Other Central American Indigenous Languages
How to get involved
We will provide training and instructions to attorneys who do not have immigration experience. We have an in-person training on Tuesday, July 10th at 5:30PM at the ACLU of Southern California. We also have online videos and materials available.
If you would like to get involved, please fill out this VOLUNTEER FORM [Also at: https://goo.gl/forms/ZuM2cm6CjHmx28WJ3]
Please feel free to circulate this to attorneys at your firm or others who may be interested.
Please contact Grace Lee if you have any questions or would like to discuss further: firstname.lastname@example.org.