As ICE incarcerates more and more people, often for overstaying their visas or minor infractions, the Boston Immigration Accompaniment Network (BIJAN) needs additional lawyers to assist in two major ways:
- We need lawyers without immigration experience to do intake interviews at the Plymouth and the Bristol County (in North Dartmouth) jails. Interviews typically involve travel to the center, a 20-minute check-in process, and an hour with each respondent. BIJAN has a detailed questionnaire prepared by immigration lawyers to fill out. If needed, we can supply a language interpreter. Lawyers are not representing respondents but only take down information so that an immigration lawyer can evaluate the case. No immigration experience is necessary to complete these interviews. All lawyers must have a bar card in order to enter the jail.
- We need lawyers with immigration experience to take on cases of people whose intake interviews are completed at Plymouth and Bristol. These lawyers must also have a bar card. If needed, we can supply a language interpreter. We are seeking pro bono or low bono lawyers. Since court outcomes are greatly improved when a person is represented by a lawyer, engaging an attorney is a high priority. The Network has some funds to pay lawyers and pay for bond. Those funds are often combined with any money family members are able to provide.
BIJAN has raised over $600,000 to date, bonded out well over 100 people who would otherwise spend long periods in detention awaiting an immigration court hearing, and help hundreds more held by ICE. Many of us who volunteer with the Immigration Justice Network are comforted to know that we are able to help some immigrants despite today’s negative atmosphere for individuals born in other countries and newcomers at risk. We are hoping that some people reading this flyer will want to be part of these efforts to bring some relief to fellow human beings who are in a tough situation.
For more information or to indicate that you would like to help, please feel free to contact either of us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Miriam Stein, firstname.lastname@example.org, (781) 648-0255
Janet Penn, email@example.com, (508) 269-1494