For the fourth consecutive year, Fragomen, a global firm dedicated exclusively to immigration services, is sending several contingents of attorneys to provide pro bono services to immigrant families at detention centers in Texas.
With detention and asylum issues at the southern border gripping the national immigration debate, and decisions affecting people’s lives and well-being taking place in a high-volume, high-stakes, complex system, volunteer legal services are more important than ever. “Each day, hundreds of mothers, fathers and children hope for the chance to speak with an attorney who can help them understand why they are being detained and what they must do to be released,” said Barbara Camacho, Fragomen Pro Bono Counsel. “Fragomen attorneys have embarked upon a long-term, consistent commitment to providing pro bono services to detained immigrant families.”
This year, Fragomen will send a team of nearly a dozen attorneys to serve a full week at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas—the largest immigrant family detention center in the U.S. holding between 1,500 and 2,200 mothers and their children. Since 2015, Fragomen has sent more than 60 volunteers to Dilley through organized trips and ad hoc initiatives. Leading the effort is the Dilley Pro Bono Project (formerly the CARA Project). Fragomen is also sending volunteers to the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas, where they will serve fathers and their sons, many of whom have been impacted by family separation. RAICES leads the effort on the ground at Karnes.
Fragomen Partner Cynthia Shearn volunteered at Karnes during the week of September 10. “It will take a while for me to fully process the challenges faced by these fathers and sons, including the trauma from which some fled in their home countries and the trauma they endured on their journey to the U.S.,” Shearn said.
Fragomen lawyers in the U.S. completed more than 13,000 hours of pro bono work in 2017.