New Mission for Lawyers: Free Aid to Young Immigrants

Attorneys at major U.S. law firms and corporations are volunteering to represent, at no cost, unaccompanied children who have entered the U.S. illegally and lack access to justice.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Miriam Jordan
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
October 1, 2014
Link to story

Tags: Children & Juvenile, Immigration Process, Legal Needs, Pro Bono

Organizations mentioned/involved: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)


Since late July, when a wave of Central American minors surged at the border, lawyers who regularly bill hundreds of dollars an hour have been packing training sessions to learn immigration law and take on the children’s cases. Legal-aid organizations call it an unprecedented response by this group of attorneys.

The effort leaves the firms open to criticism from conservative activists who say the minors should be returned to their home countries. But the attorneys say the children, who aren’t entitled to a public defender, have a right to due process.

Rachel Ehrlich Albanese, a corporate-restructuring attorney at Akin Gump in Manhattan, said she was dismayed when she read that the government had created a “rocket docket” to expedite deportation of the children, many of whom fled violence and endured a dangerous journey to the U.S. “I have a heart and I have two kids,” she said.