Centro Legal de la Raza’s

Pro Bono Immigration Project

Centro Legal de la Raza and its network of over 180 pro bono attorneys provide legal representation and consultations to over 5,000 immigrants each year, including hundreds of unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge in the United States and immigrants who have been the victims of violent crimes. Centro Legal’s Pro Bono Project focuses on representation in asylum cases for those fleeing persecution and U visa applications for victims of violent crimes who have cooperated with law enforcement.

Centro Legal Pro Bono Program

Our Pro Bono Program provides in-house mentorship from Centro Legal attorneys with significant litigation experience in immigration law. As your pro bono partner, Centro Legal will:

• Carefully screen client cases
• Provide a comprehensive, detailed training on the specific steps and procedures required
• Provide updated and relevant sample materials and briefing
• Discuss strategy and case development issues
• Provide ongoing guidance and mentorship throughout the course of our representation

Become a Centro Legal de la Raza pro bono partner today. Please contact Andres Albarran, aalbarran@centrolegal.org to arrange a training or for current cases in need of urgent pro bono representation.

Asylum Pro Bono Project for Unaccompanied Children and Families

Since the summer of 2014, unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied children (UCs) and migrant families have embarked on the dangerous journey from Central America and Mexico to the U.S. in search of safe haven. The urgency of this crisis is exacerbated by the vulnerability of the population. Many asylum seekers are women and children who have fled severe sexual, physical and emotional domestic violence and also encounter this type of trauma on their journey. An estimated 80% of women and girls crossing the border are raped during their journey. Refugees also include LGBT immigrants fleeing persecution, as well as young girls and boys who have been targeted for persecution due to their refusal to support local gangs or militias. The continuing increase in individuals fleeing violence in Central America and Mexico is staggering and the death toll in their respective home countries is higher today than when those nations were in civil war.

California and the San Francisco Immigration Court, which covers Northern California is disproportionately bearing the weight of the humanitarian crisis. Among U.S. states, California is the second most common destination for these unaccompanied minors and migrant families in the Immigration Court system. For the cases of families concluded thus far before the San Francisco Immigration Court, the odds of being allowed to remain in this country increased more than fourteen-fold when women and children had legal representation.

U Visa Pro Bono Project for Immigrant Victims of Violent Crimes

The U visa is a remedy that an immigrant who has been the victim of a violent crime and who has cooperated with law enforcement can apply for. It is an application filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and does not require an appearance before the Immigration Court.
Undocumented immigrant survivors of violent crime often remain isolated and do not access the legal services for which they qualify due to language barriers, a limited education, and fear of interaction with the authorities that could lead to deportation. Centro Legal has provided these survivors with comprehensive bilingual and culturally sensitive services to help them overcome the barriers they face to accessing services. Without an attorney, most of the survivors we meet would never apply for a U visa despite being eligible. Because of the dedication of our pro bono attorneys, we have been able to dramatically increase the number of survivors we serve together. With lawful status and increased stability, survivors can focus on overcoming crisis and healing and on caring for their families.