(January 26, 2011) - The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Pro Bono Project through which almost 700 vulnerable immigrants have received free representation in their appellate cases.
The BIA Project is one of the nation’s only pro bono immigration appeals projects. Founded in January 2001, the project matches unrepresented immigrants facing deportation with volunteer attorneys and law students. Drawing on its long-standing commitment to empower legal services providers through education and training, CLINIC mentors volunteer attorneys to take on meaningful pro bono appellate cases.
“In a system where individuals have no right to government appointed counsel, the BIA Pro Bono Project has been instrumental in ensuring that individuals’ rights and liberties are protected under the law and that cases posing important legal issues are presented fairly and competently on appeal,” said Maria M. Odom, CLINIC’s Executive Director. “We are proud of our contributions to this project; through training and mentoring we continue to increase and afford access to counsel for vulnerable and often detained individuals.”
Over the past ten years, the BIA Pro Bono Project has identified high-profile cases that have challenged existing laws and opened up avenues of relief from deportation for certain deserving individuals.
The BIA Pro Bono Project is a collaborative effort of CLINIC and the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The founding partners are CLINIC, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Capitol Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition.