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What Lawyers Can Do to Help Families Separated at the Border

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

If you've had any contact with the outside world in the last week, you've likely heard about what's going on down along our southern border.

While immigration enforcement is often a controversial and divisive subject, the separation of children from their families when crossing the border seeking asylum has stoked outrage from both sides of the partisan divide. Many lawyers out there might be wondering what exactly they can do to help. Below, you can find a short list of things lawyers can actually do.

1. Volunteer

If you're far away, it may be difficult to actually volunteer on the border. However, don't rule out volunteering entirely. Many organizations are actively seeking volunteers on the border and can probably make efficient use of whatever time you can spare. This is particularly true for experienced immigration practitioners, or really any licensed attorney with no record of discipline (as getting admitted to the federal immigration courts is easy). Some of the organizations seeking volunteers include the ACLU, RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Educational and Legal Services), The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, and ASAP (the Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project).

However, if you don't have that sort of time, you can help by attending a local protest to observe, and potentially help out.

2. Sponsor a Volunteer

If you have a mentee, or an associate (or two) that you can spare as your firm enters the summer lull, consider offering to send one down to the border to volunteer. It can be a valuable and rewarding experience, especially for new attorneys (who could also benefit from some high impact experience).

3. Call Your Politicians

While we lawyers might be able to do a bit more than ordinary volunteers, we can also do the same things that everyone can. One of the more important things to do is to voice your opinion to your elected representatives. The critical mass of constituent calls makes a difference.

4. Donate

If you don't have time to go or even call your politician, that means you're probably raking in money, by the barrel, hand over fist. Recently, the ACLU raised a million dollars, and as noted by Chrissy Teigen, every little bit helped. Like those constituent calls, when a critical mass of people act, small actions can have big impacts.

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