Between October 1, 2013, and August 31, 2016, more than 9,000 unaccompanied immigrant children came to Maryland – seeking refuge from violence in their home countries, and more children continue to arrive each month. Without representation, many children eligible for relief will likely be deported right back to the dangerous situations from which they escaped. The Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project is looking for volunteers to help these children gain access to critical legal assistance with their valid claims to remain in the United States. The greatest need is for attorneys and mentors barred in any state as well as non-attorney Spanish-speaking students and professionals to help in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties.
All volunteers have access to substantive training, malpractice insurance, mentorship, case support, interpreters, an email discussion listserv, and sample pleadings and forms. No prior experience necessary.
Attorneys in good standing in any state can choose to give children hope and brief legal advice at Project clinics (4-7 hours) or to accept an Asylum or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) case for direct representation. Applying for SIJS starts with a special kind of petition or complaint for guardianship or custody in Maryland family court so UAC Project opportunities are a great fit for attorneys looking to volunteer in family and/or immigration law.
Spanish-speaking students and professionals fluent in Spanish and English can also choose the number of hours they would like to interpret. Opportunities include volunteering at PBRC’s clinics and events or meeting with volunteer attorneys directly to interpret for them during client meetings.
Take a training to get involved. Attorneys, click here to train online to volunteer at Project clinics, handle a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status case, or handle an Asylum case. Interpreters, click here to train online to interpret for legal services.
The Unaccompanied Children Pro Bono Project is a joint venture of the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC), the Department of Human Resources, the Governor’s Office for Children, the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, the Department of Juvenile and Family Services for the Administrative Office of the Courts, and various non-profit legal services programs.