In late May- early June, the CARA Pro Bono Project assisted 21 families who were picked up by DHS in the latest round of enforcement actions targeting Central American women the children. The stories of the 21 families and the due process obstacles they have encountered were captured in a report produced by the CARA project.
Detention and Removal
Spring 2016 marked the one-year anniversary of the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project with some impressive data to add a bit of hope to the still steady flow of immigrants across the border. The project’s one-year statistics paint a powerful picture of the work being done by volunteers and the limited formal staff at CARA.
March marked the one year anniversary of the CARA Pro Bono Representation Family Detention Project, which focuses on ending family detention and ensuring representation for immigrant families who are processed through the family detention facilities. Nearly 8,000 families had a CARA volunteer attorney help them start the process of seeking asylum. More than 700 volunteers from all over the country -- lawyers, paralegals, translators, social workers, medical professionals, teachers and more -- put their lives on hold for a week or more and traveled to Texas to help protect families. Combined, they contributed more than $6.75 million in volunteer hours.
In early January, the Department of Homeland Security began targeting for removal Central American families and unaccompanied children who had turned 18. CLINIC engaged in extensive national and local advocacy, with staff from the Advocacy and TLS offices participating in national webinars about the actions. The CLINIC advocacy team conducted webinars for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and provided advocacy support for communities in Arkansas, California, Ohio and Virginia. DHS continues to target immigrant families and unaccompanied children who have turned 18 while in the United States.
CLINIC continues to fight against the government’s practice of detaining immigrant mothers and their children. CLINIC, through its work in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project has been especially active in the national fight to eliminate large scale family detention centers. CLINIC and CARA have been leading advocacy efforts to challenge unlawful asylum, detention, and deportation policies of DHS. Such advocacy activities have included submitting a complaint to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) regarding inadequate language access for indigenous language speakers and filing a letter to high-level DHS officials about glaring due process violations that have occurred since the court order of October 23rd.
From January 2- 4, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted enforcement actions targeting immigrants who arrived to the United States after January 1, 2014, and had final orders of removal. DHS picked up 121 individuals in local communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. CLINIC responded to these action by writing a a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, condemning the targeting of Central American women and children and urging an end to the practice, putting together a a backgrounder explaining the recent actions and what to do in your community, and, through its partnership with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, help receive stays of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in twelve cases, affecting thirty-three women and children. CLINIC continues to monitor this issue and will appreciate hearing what is occurring in your community.
CLINIC advocates for the end of the U.S. policy of detaining families who arrive in the U.S. seeking protection from crime and violence in their home countries. It also participates in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Representation and Advocacy Project, working to provide legal representation to these families.