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Practice Resources to Help Children and Families Affected by Humanitarian Crisis in Central America

AILA members and others are mobilizing to provide legal services to the thousands of unaccompanied children and families crossing the southern border of the United States. This resource page includes a wide variety of helpful tools, ranging from practice advisories, seminars, Annual Conference recordings, books, and more. Consider getting involved through the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project or on your own.

Additionally, if you receive calls from the press about this issue or want to write an opinion piece pushing back against these harsh tactics, AILA has provided talking points for members that can get you started.

Finally, please share any information you may have on round ups and raids with AILA National.


Litigation and Strategy

  • Justice for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Advocacy Best Practices Manual for Legal Service Providers
    The National Immigrant Justice Center, a Heartland Alliance Program, created a reference manual responding to issues seen in the field, as well as offering best practices, links to additional information, templates, and materials useful for the representation of unaccompanied immigrant children.
  • Helping Those Released from Family Detention: Asylum Options for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
    A pre-recorded webinar series training from Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, ASISTA, and Tahirih Justice Center. This webinar series is for attorneys, accredited representatives, domestic and sexual violence advocates, mental health service providers and social workers already familiar with VAWA and U visas to help women and children released from family detention centers. Specifically, it is designed to expand your knowledge and capacity to help survivors fleeing domestic and sexual violence in their home countries apply for asylum.
  • AILA Quicktake #167: Prepping for the Impact of ICE Raids
    AILA General Counsel Laura Lichter shares information on what AILA members need to know about how they can help women and unaccompanied children who may be subject to raids and what resources are available.
  • Practice Advisory: What to Do If Client is Apprehended by ICE *Available to AILA Members*
    Practice advisory on what to do if you have a client who was apprehended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the recent raids on Central Americans.
  • Central American Asylum Cases (Downloadable Recording)
    With an increased amount of attention on Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran asylum-seekers at the southern border, Central American asylum cases remain one of the hottest topics in asylum litigation. Our expert panel discusses some of the most common factual scenarios and brainstorms strategies to win.
  • Expedited Removal and Reinstatement of Removal (.MP3)
    This panel was presented as part of the 2016 AILA Asylum CLE Conference in San Antonio, TX, on February 8, 2016. The influx of Central Americans fleeing persecution, combined with amped-up border enforcement, has resulted in a need for more attorneys who are well-versed in representing asylum-seekers apprehended at the U.S. border. The panelists will discuss best practices in representing asylum-seekers who are subject to expedited removal and reinstatement of removal. Panelists will also provide creative tips for protecting the rights of asylum-seekers in this flawed system.
  • "Accessing Protection at the Border: Pointers on Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Interviews"
    by Katharine Ruhl and Christopher Strawn
    Protection of asylum seekers subject to expedited removal and reinstatement has been a serious concern from the creation of the credible fear and reasonable fear interview process. These concerns have come to the forefront with the administration’s reaction to the increase in unaccompanied children and their families fleeing violence in Central American and Mexico. An important and extremely informative account – really required reading for advocates – is Stephen Manning’s report “Ending Artesia.” This practice advisory provides updates on recent changes to the credible and reasonable fear process and practice pointers for advocates assisting persons in these interviews.
  • "Time-Barred Motions to Reopen-Tips and Tricks for Success"
    by Vikram K. Badrinath, Helen Parsonage, and Jenna Peyton
    When a client has a prior order of removal and it is too late to file a Motion to Reopen, the situation seems hopeless; but practitioners should not give up too quickly. Reopening proceedings can present an array of possibilities for clients and offer a great space for creative advocacy. This practice advisory will discuss effective strategies for reopening proceedings before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
  • "Your First" Series, Part III: The Asylum Interview (Downloadable Recording)
    Each seminar in the series features a mock interview or hearing, broken down into smaller segments, where experienced AILA practitioners play the roles of client, interviewer, judge and attorney at various stages of the proceedings. This seminar features a mock USCIS asylum interview and panel discussion of the following topics: Burden of Proof (Asylum, Withholding, CAT), the Attorney's Role in the Interview, Prepping Your Client, Common Pitfalls: EWI and Proving Entry Date, Missed One-Year Deadline, etc., Ethical Issues: False Documents or Statements, and Psychological Problems or Client's Competency, and Best Resources for Attorneys.
  • Preserving the One-Year Filing Deadline for Asylum Cases Stuck in the Immigration Court Backlog *Available to AILA Members*
    The American Immigration Council and AILA provide a practice advisory on steps attorneys can take to preserve clients' asylum claims where the master calendar hearing is scheduled beyond the one-year filing deadline. Steps include filing affirmatively with the Asylum Office, lodging, and filing a motion to advance.
  • How to File a Petition for Review *Available to AILA Members*
    The American Immigration Council provides a practice advisory on how to file a petition for review. Noncitizens may file a petition for review in the court of appeals to seek judicial review of a final removal order. This Practice Advisory addresses the procedures and general requirements for filing and litigating a petition for review.
  • Strategies for Success in Asylum Cases (Downloadable Recording)
    As more world crises make headlines, the number of people seeking refuge in the United States continues to rise. This seminar discusses strategies that can be employed by practitioners in building asylum cases. It also covers recent hot topics in the realm of asylum and refugee law.
  • Preparing for Credible Fear Interviews (Podcast)
    AILA member Megan Hall (Westminster, CO) leads a discussion on the credible fear interview with fellow members Jennifer Smith (Glenwood Springs, CO) and Kelly White (Washington, DC) that includes some information specific to the current situation in Artesia, NM. The panel starts with an overview of the credible fear process. Then, the speakers cover what happens during a credible fear interview and how to prepare yourself and your client. Finally, the panel gives you some options for remedies when the interview does not go well.
  • The Lost Population-Special Immigrant Juveniles (Podcast)
    Join AILA member Steven C. Thal (Minneapolis, MN) as he leads a discussion with fellow members Kathleen Glynn (Denver, CO) and Karen S. Law (Washington, DC Area) on special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS). The panel gives you an overview of SIJS and continues with the following topics: statutory changes through the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), the petitioning process, and special considerations involving timelines and pitfalls. Finally, the speakers provide a list of helpful resources.
  • Seeking Remedies for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in Immigration Cases *Available to AILA Members*
    An American Immigration Council practice advisory on how individuals can seek a remedy for ineffective assistance of counsel in immigration court proceedings by filing a motion to reopen, including an overview on the right to effective assistance and the requirements in Matter of Lozada.
  • The Current State of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims (Downloadable Recording)
    A potential client comes to you and says his old attorney screwed up and he wants you to fix his case. How do you assess the validity of his claims? What mistakes constitute ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC)? If IAC is established, how do you fix it? This seminar discusses the current state of IAC claims.

Ethical Issues in the Representation of Children


Statistics and Data


Advocacy and Background


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Upcoming Annual Conference Sessions:

  • 2016 Annual Conference Sessions:
    • Asylum 101: Preparing the Application
    • Asylum 102: Central Issues
    • Keeping Them Safe: Preparing an Asylum Trial from Start to Finish
    • Fleeing Families: Obtaining Derivative Status for Family Members of Asylum Applicants and Grantees
    • Protecting Children: An Advanced Panel on Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
    • Representing Minors in Immigration Court
    • Humanitarian Parole: From Filing to Adjudication
    • Lozada Mini Track:
      • The Lowdown on Lozada: Identifying IAC, Preparing A Claim, and Filing a Lozada Motion
      • Help! I've Been Lozada'd: What to Do if You Are on the Receiving End of a Lozada Complaint
      • Lozada Before the Bar: What Happens When a Complaint Makes It to the State Bar



Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14072246.