At the NYCLU Annual Meeting a couple of weeks ago, we had an excellent discussion of the problems at the U.S. borders. Two of the attorneys who are actively working at the Mexican-American border in Texas came to talk with us: Lorelei Williams, Director of Immigration & LGBTQ/HIV Advocacy at Staten Island Legal Services, and Claire Thomas, the Director of the Asylum Clinic at New York Law School. Zach Ahmad came up from the main office of NYCLU and spoke about problems on the New York border. (We were supposed to hear from Albany Law’s Sarah Rogerson but, unfortunately, she was ill and couldn’t come.)
What Claire Thomas and Lorilei Williams described was harrowing and painful to hear. I had conversations with both women, but Lorilei and I got into a conversation about how the work is being funded. Programs on immigration law are not necessarily supporting lawyers to head for the border. The absence of counsel for the thousands stranded at the border is a major problem. I was particularly impressed by the fact that many of the attorneys are going down there on their own dime. Because of that, I asked Lorilei to send me some info about which organizations are supporting lawyers at the border and could use help for this humanitarian work. This is what she sent me:
Thanks so much for reaching out, and for your kind words. The draft post looks great- thank you for sharing. Here are two great resources with more articles and places to donate/volunteer:
Thanks so much for your support. Every little bit helps!
Lorilei A. Williams,
Director, Immigration & LGBTQ/HIV Advocacy,
Staten Island Legal Services
After hearing from Lorilei, my friend, Henry Freedman, who ran the National Center for Law and Economic Justice for some forty years, wrote to suggest another, the Immigration Justice Campaign, https://www.immigrationjustice.us/, For novices in the immigration field, it provides CLE, written and visual training materials and resources, plus mentoring from an experienced immigration lawyer, and insurance coverage can be provided for retired attorneys. Henry wrote me that he and his wife, a former NY State appellate judge, have used the program very successfully in Immigration Court asylum cases.