Provide remote assistance to RAICES (and in the future other organizations, such as the El Paso Immigrant Collaborative (EPIC)) in their work representing detained immigrant asylum seekers. When immigrants are detained at the border and taken into an ICE facility, they are provided a screening interview by an Asylum Officer to determine whether they have a credible fear of asylum and chance of prevailing on a claim in the immigration court. If they pass, they are permitted to stay and present their case in court. However, ICE often decides to continue to detain them anyway, forcing them to present their case while detained and without reliable access to legal representation. We are helping the attorneys at Raices to prepare requests for release from custody- some before the court; some directly to ICE. When we prepare these requests for them, it allows the few attorneys on the ground to represent more detainees and file more requests, as well as assist the detainees in more complicated areas (such as preparation for their screening interviews). Moreover, individuals who are released have a much higher chance of prevailing on their case. Release requests usually involve proving the individual is not a danger to the community or a flight risk. There are two teams of remote volunteers. A short summary of the volunteer roles is below, but any volunteer would receive more materials and training before working on the project.

Assistance with bond/parole preparation (ideal for attorney volunteers)

This involves the preparation of the release request and the evidence in support of release. Volunteers will review the documentation provided. This usually includes the notes from the credible fear interview with the asylum officer and evidence that has been gathered from the family/friend/sponsor, as well the custody decision and anything else that seems relevant. The volunteer will gather the documents into a packet, add page numbers the packet, and scan it as a pdf. Note that this does require the ability to at least print and scan. The volunteer will then use a carefully prepared template or sample that they will adjust to the facts of the unique case. They will also prepare an index. These will be drafted in Word and passed on to a team leader. Volunteers’ names are not attached to the product, and they have no ultimate legal responsibility to the detained individual they are assisting. The requests are reviewed by multiple parties before submission.

Assistance with translations and supporting evidence for bond/parole (ideal for Spanish speakers):

This involves reaching out to the family members and/or sponsors of the detained individual to collect the necessary documents to show that she is not a flight risk. We receive information from Raices about the individual’s sponsor. The volunteer will call the sponsor and explain the list of documents that they need to provide to help secure the release of their loved one from custody. This usually involves a sponsor letter with appropriate information, evidence of identity, status, proof of address, financial stability. The volunteer will also prepare translations of these documents as needed. Sponsors have very busy lives and sometimes can only work with us on weekends or evenings.

Assistance with administrative tasks

We are working with dozens of cases and collaborating with partners and volunteers across the country. Holding it all together requires significant administrative efforts. The tasks may seem mundane but they are in fact the cornerstone of the project’s success. This involves cutting and pasting volunteer notes between different spreadsheets and systems, uploading documents, reviewing documents, calling the hotline to update hearing information on spreadsheets to help other volunteers prioritize and monitoring case histories to track data and let volunteers know about the results of their efforts.

 

Interested persons please contact: