Texas AG “Investigating” Texas Bar Foundation is an Attempt to Shift Attention and Undermine the Rule of Law

Washington, D.C. — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (Council) stand in support of the Texas State Bar Foundation in response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s investigation of the Foundation for supporting organizations that provide legal representation, citizenship classes, and other legal needs to the immigrant community in Texas.

Benjamin Johnson, AILA’s Executive Director stated, “The Texas Bar Foundation should be praised for its mission and efforts to enhance the rule of law and the system of justice in Texas, and for its strengthening of due process in our immigration system by supporting organizations that provide legal assistance to the immigrant community in TX. Instead of offering praise, the Attorney General of Texas has threatened them with an investigation into the use of privately-raised funds to support their important mission. Access to legal representation and equality before the law are bedrock principles in our Constitution, and this investigation by the Attorney General flies in the face of the oath he took to the defend the Constitution. This baseless allegation is also an attack on the longstanding commitment that bar foundations and bar associations nationwide, including AILA, have made to helping people in need get a fair day in court, not only in immigration law but across a wide range of legal fields.”

Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of the Council, stated, “The United States prides itself on being a nation of laws that works to ensure that all people receive due process. The United States immigration system is extraordinarily complicated, with potential life and death consequences for those forced to navigate it without the help of an attorney. Unfortunately, less than half of immigrants currently in removal procedings have a lawyer, and even some children face deportation without legal assistance. The Texas Bar Foundation’s efforts are an example of a long and proud tradition of work by the private bar to improve access to counsel for all people, immigrants and citizens alike. When an immigrant has access to a lawyer, it helps keep the system fair and protects the interests of everyone involved. That’s why an attack on the right to counsel is an attack on the rule of law.”

For more information, contact:
George Tzamaras from AILA at gtzamaras@aila.org or Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, at mfrausto@immcouncil.org.

The American Immigration Council is a powerful voice in promoting laws, policies, and attitudes that honor America’s proud history as a nation of immigrants. Through research and policy analysis, litigation and international exchange, the Council seeks to shape a twenty-first century vision of the American immigrant experience. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national association of more than 15,000 attorneys, paralegals, law professors, and law students who practice and teach immigration law. AILA member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace, as well as foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 39 chapters and over 50 national committees.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 22050904.