If you have questions or resources to add to this page, contact us at webmaster@aila.org

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

  • Advanced Issues in Asylum and Withholding of Removal (.PDF)
    Asylum law and policy is constantly changing; however, it has been particularly in flux under the Trump Administration. This practice advisory discusses current issues and challenges in asylum practice, and provides practical tips for representing asylum-seeking clients in this day and age.
  • Tricky Asylum Issues: Backlogs, Ethics, and the Filing Deadline - Recording (.MP3)
    As asylum office and immigration court backlogs grow, asylum seekers often must wait a considerable amount of time to be interviewed by USCIS or for their court hearings to be scheduled. What actions can you take when it is impossible for your client to appear in court to file an asylum application before the one-year filing deadline? The speakers will discuss strategies for filing timely asylum applications before USCIS and the immigration courts, identify tips on arguing an exception to the one-year filing deadline where court backlogs prevented timely filing, and address procedural and ethical considerations when filing affirmative cases before USCIS.
  • Gender-Based Asylum Claims Post-Matter of A-R-C-G- AC17 (.MP3)
    It has now been three years since the landmark decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals confirming in Matter of A- R-C-G- that domestic violence may be a ground for asylum. The experts on this intermediate-level panel will discuss how the decision has been implemented and interpreted since 2014. They also will provide practical tips for applying the decision in the contexts of gender-based and family violence beyond the specific facts of A-R-C-G-.
  • Advanced Issues in Asylum and Withholding of Removal - Recording (.MP3)
    Twenty percent of asylum-seekers are denied because they missed the one-year filing deadline. Our panel of asylum experts will discuss strategies for dealing with this problem, and provide several examples of exceptions to the one-year deadline. Panelists also will address best practices for winning withholding of removal when the one-year deadline cannot be overcome, and review recent developments and complex issues in asylum and withholding law.
  • Hot Topics for Minors and Derivatives Seeking Asylum AC17 (.MP3)
    The panelists will address specialized issues in asylum practice, such as how to protect derivatives and address changes in family relationships given the lengthy and unpredictable delays in the asylum process. This intermediate-level panel will also provide updates and strategies for presenting claims for unaccompanied alien minors and working with child applicants.
  • Preparing and Presenting Central American Asylum Claims: Tips and Tricks for Success AC17 (.MP3)
    As the refugee crisis in Central America worsens, the U.S. asylum system continues to fail to protect bona fide refugees from the dangers of this region. Panelists on this intermediate- to advanced-level panel will provide an overview of case law developments in Central American asylum claims, and will discuss strategies for successfully preparing and presenting claims for an extremely vulnerable population in need of creative and zealous advocacy.
  • Representing Central Americans and UACs in Hostile Jurisdictions
    In the best of circumstances, winning asylum claims is difficult. Winning an asylum claim in a hostile jurisdiction could seem impossible. Our panel explains why it is not impossible to present-and win-Central American and UAC asylum claims in a hostile jurisdiction. The panel will provide real-world advice on litigating claims (drawing on their own experiences), discuss tough lessons learned, and describe regional and national resources.
  • Asylum 101: Preparing the Application (Downloadable Recording)
    This fundamentals-level panel provides a general overview of the asylum process- affirmative and defensive-and the major issues practitioners must confront when preparing an asylum case.
  • Asylum 102: Central Issues (Downloadable Recording)
    This fundamentals-level panel on asylum provides a general overview of the asylum process-affirmative and defensive-and the major issues practitioners must confront when preparing an asylum case.
  • Preparing an Asylum Trial from Start to Finish (Downloadable Recording)
    Asylum cases are different than other types of removal defense cases. This panel will provide practical strategies for how to prepare your case and your clients, and how to obtain the evidence that you need to effectively and ethically represent your clients.
  • 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 Pointer: How to Locate Clients that Have Been 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Ethical Issues in the Representation of Children


Statistics and Data


Advocacy and Background


Search AILA's InfoNet Research Library




Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14072246.