The Immigration Justice Campaign

The problem.

Access to legal counsel is a core American value and is the cornerstone of our justice system. But America has a deportation system that lacks fairness and basic due process, and every day the enforcement dragnet is widening. It detains immigrants in remote locations, limits their access to information and legal services, and yet expedites their deportation. At the same time, more than 80 percent of detained immigrants are unrepresented by counsel, and only about one-third of immigration attorneys practice deportation defense.

Our solution.

The Immigration Justice Campaign - a joint initiative between the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association - seeks to change the playing field by preparing lawyers to be cutting-edge defenders of and advocates for immigrants facing deportation. There are thousands of attorneys across the country, both inside and outside the immigration bar, who are looking for opportunities to be part of this effort. We need volunteers from all fields.

In collaboration with partners, the Immigration Justice Campaign will give lawyers access to new strategies designed to promote zealous deportation defense, expand our networks and build new capacity. We will train, mentor and engage more of the legal community- and in the process, recruit new allies to our effort to reform the system.

What we will do.

  • Train Lawyers to Use Aggressive Legal Tactics:

    We will train attorneys to aggressively defend immigrants facing removal, upending many traditional practices in order to use every available tool to protect individual rights and challenge the growing deportation machinery.

  • Increase Capacity to Provide Removal Defense:

    By creating innovative mentorship programs, training lawyers of all experience levels, and recruiting more attorneys to this work, we will strengthen a national network that can represent individuals throughout the removal process.

  • Coordinate Advocacy and Litigation:

    We will amplify the impact of individual representation and the influence of our work by collecting data and stories, identifying trends, engaging in communications work, and coordinating with our partners to do advocacy and litigation nationally.

  • Build a Movement:

    Representation can be a transformative act that leads to a deeper commitment to the broader movement. We will connect attorneys and others mobilized by the hateful rhetoric around immigration and harsh enforcement practices to immigration reform fights, building power to affect real change.

Building new partnerships.

We will collaborate with many partners, including immigrant rights organizations, law firms, law school clinics, and bar associations to accomplish the work of the Justice Campaign. Some of our partners include:

The American Immigrant Representation Project: AIRP is a newly created initiative to recruit and harness the power of large law firms for the important work of pro bono removal defense for detained immigrants, especially those with criminal convictions.

The Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative: Led by Southern Poverty Law Center, SIFI provides pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States. It will begin at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, in collaboration with AILA, the Council, AIRP and the Innovation Law Lab.

The Stand with Immigrants Campaign: SWI is a large-scale mobilization effort to activate lawyers and other professionals to protect and promote the rights of immigrants. It is a collaboration of AILA, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc, National Council of La Raza, Immigration Advocates Network, Pro Bono Net, and the Advocates for Human Rights.

What can I do to help?

If you are new to removal defense and want to get trained; if you want to volunteer to represent detained immigrants; or if you are an expert in removal defense or federal court litigation and want to mentor – then join our community of committed, fearless lawyers ready to stand as the last line of defense against deportation. Tell us who you are and what you want to do, and we’ll share updates, training, and more information. Go to www.ImmigrationJustice.us.

Contact Karen Lucas at klucas@immcouncil.org with additional questions about the Immigration Justice Campaign or to learn more about getting involved.