Dear Pro Bono Friend,

Welcome to those who are new to the Catholic Charities Pro Bono Volunteer Advocate network! We are grateful to have received such an outpouring of support and desire to get involved. Ensuring that each child placed in temporary care here in New York receives the legal assistance they need is inherent in our mission of providing help and creating hope. If you haven’t listened in yet, we invite you to listen to our telephonic briefing on how the family separation crisis is unfolding in New York.

Here’s the truth: immigrant families in America are under siege – at the southern border as well as here in New York. By taking a pro bono case today, you will directly impact an immigrant family’s safety and stability in their new home.

Perhaps it is a mother and two children fleeing gang violence in Central America.

Perhaps it is a family of five whose father stood up against political oppression in his home country.

Perhaps it is a single mother seeking to protect her daughter whose partner was secretly abusing her child until she stood up and stopped it.

These families – your neighbors, community members and friends – need your help to keep their loved ones safe from harm, and to continue their living their lives with a stronger, more secure foundation. Your legal expertise can help create that foundation.

The most meaningful assistance you can offer an immigrant today is to help him or her across the finish line to legal status. There is nothing more important as the enforcement dragnet widens and due process continues to be threatened.

We know that immigration law is complex and challenging, but you can do this. Catholic Charities’ promise to you is that we will support you as you embark on this work, every step of the way.

To claim a case or to receive contact information with which to run a conflicts check, the process is simple:

  1. Review the cases below and pick a case (or two!)
  2. Reply to me at susan.marks@archny.org with the case number(s).
  3. If the case remains available, you will receive an email from me with a formal case placement package. After the initial case launch, the Pro Bono Supervising Attorney mentoring your case will advise the client that you will be contacting him or her by phone within 2 weeks so that your representation can commence.
  4. If you have not already done so, you will be asked to sign the Catholic Charities PBVA Agreement and to execute a Catholic Charities Pro Bono Project Representation Agreement with your client that outlines the scope of your full case placement through Catholic Charities.
  5. Throughout the pendency of your representation, you can expect in-depth mentorship and around the clock technical assistance by a Catholic Charities Pro Bono Supervising Attorney at every stage of the case.

Please consider accepting a pro bono matter from Catholic Charities today; the clients below have been waiting for help from passionate pro bono advocates like you!

Coming soon to the internet near you! …the Catholic Charities Pro Bono Project online volunteer community!

Our online volunteer portal is set to launch later this summer. It will be your one stop shop to review available cases, sign up for short-term and case placement volunteer opportunities, learn more about the work of the Pro Bono Project and access a wealth of training materials and practice templates. We can’t wait to share this incredible resource with you!

Cases Available for Placement

Case #1 (Second Posting)

Location:  Kings County

Estimated time commitment: 20+ hours

Upcoming Immigration Court hearing: November 30, 2018*

Ms. D is a 46 year old native of Guinea who was forced to suffer female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was 10 years old. She has been an opponent of the practice of FGM throughout her adult life and is an active member of an anti-government political party. In 2013, Ms. D was attacked by government forces at a political rally. She was beaten unconscious and left bleeding until she was saved by passersby who took her to a hospital for treatment. The doctors were unsuccessful in their efforts to repair serious injury to her arm, which remains painfully dislocated from her shoulder. She fears returning to Guinea because she is worried that her U.S. citizen daughter will be forced to undergo FGM. Ms. D is eligible for political asylum based on past persecution and a fear of future persecution. She has filed a timely asylum application and needs a dedicated attorney like you to stand beside her in Immigration Court and fight for her and her daughter’s right to stay safe in the U.S.

*A master calendar hearing (MCH) is the first appearance that happens in an immigration case. It is at this appearance that the Immigration Judge (IJ) accepts pleadings. For those who are familiar with criminal court, it has been likened procedurally to an arraignment.

Case #2

Location: Bronx County

Estimated time commitment: 20+ hours

Upcoming Immigration Court hearing: TBD*

K, one of 16 children, suffered years of brutal and systematic abuse by her eldest brother, B. He enslaved her, forced her to do all the housework, and forbade her from leaving the house. He also assaulted all of K’s siblings and even her parents. B was a former police officer in their native Honduras, so when she went to the police for protection, they did nothing to help her. K is in removal proceedings in Immigration Court, and is eligible for asylum based on her membership in her nuclear family. Her next hearing in Immigration Court is not yet scheduled.

*A master calendar hearing (MCH) is the first appearance that happens in an immigration case. It is at this appearance that the Immigration Judge (IJ) accepts pleadings. For those who are familiar with criminal court, it has been likened procedurally to an arraignment.

Case #3 (Second Posting)

Location: Putnam County, but could be handled remotely

Estimated time commitment: 10-20 hours

A is a 47 year old native of Peru who has lived in the United States for 16 years. In September 2017, she discovered that her husband had been sexually abusing two of their daughters. A immediately reported the abuse to the police and filed for sole custody of the children. A’s daughters have tried to rebuild their lives through therapy and A does all that she can support them. A and her daughters are eligible to apply for a U nonimmigrant visa, a special visa for individuals who have been victims of crime in the U.S. who assisted law enforcement. They need an attorney to help them obtain the certification required, and to prepare and file the U visa application.

Case #4

Location: Dutchess County, but could be handled remotely

Estimated time commitment: 10-20 hours

Z is a 39 year old native of Mexico who has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years. For most of her relationship, she has suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her husband, E. Last year, Z decided she could take no more. She filed for custody of the couple’s four children and reported E’s years of abuse to the Dutchess County Family Court, which issued a temporary Order of Protection. Z has taken every step necessary to ensure the safety of herself and her children. Z is eligible to apply for a U nonimmigrant visa, a special visa for individuals who have been victims of crime in the U.S. who assisted law enforcement. She needs an attorney to help her obtain the certification required, and to prepare and file her U visa application.

Case #5 (Second Posting)

Location: Westchester County

Estimated time commitment: 20+ hours

Upcoming Immigration Court hearing: February 8, 2019*

Mr. K is a native of Pakistan and father of three. He is a member of the Muttehda Qomi Movement, a political party that the government of Pakistan has banned, and whose members have been harassed and assaulted by government forces. Mr. K fled his home after members of a terrorist organization that collaborates with the government kidnapped him and beat him because of his opposition efforts. Mr. K is eligible for asylum because he fears persecution on account of his political opinion and is terrified of what will happen to his family if they are forced to return. Mr. K and his family need a dedicated attorney like you to help them escape future harm and stay in the United States.

*A master calendar hearing (MCH) is the first appearance that happens in an immigration case. It is at this appearance that the Immigration Judge (IJ) accepts pleadings. For those who are familiar with criminal court, it has been likened procedurally to an arraignment.

If you are interested in accepting any of these cases, or hearing about others, please reply to this email to claim your case!

Catholic Charities Pro Bono Project

Training Library

Please feel free to use the links below to access our recorded webinar library! Nearly all of the cases available for placement in today’s presentation have a related training already available, making it easy to jump right in to representing a vulnerable immigrant client.

We also need your help at our upcoming Community Legal Clinics in Orange and Westchester Counties. Please save the dates for one or both – July 13 and August 3!

Registration is open for July now!

As always, thank you for your participation in the Catholic Charities pro bono network. Your legal expertise is more vital than ever to ensure that immigrant families stay safely together. If one of the cases above has captured your interest, please reach out to me at susan.marks@archny.org to get started.

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