American Immigration Lawyers Association
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national association of more than 13,500 immigration lawyers and law professors established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice and enhance the professional development of its members.
In August 2014 AILA created the Artesia Pro Bono Project to provide representation to immigrant families detained at a remote temporary detention center in Artesia, New Mexico. Because there were no legal service providers nearby, 10-12 attorneys per week traveled to Artesia to represent women and children via video hearing in immigration court. AILA volunteers fought to reverse cases at the negative credible fear stage, urging the Asylum Office to reopen denials and grant credible fear and represented clients at their asylum hearings. The Project has won 14 of the 15 asylum cases that have gone to trial to date, and has filed an appeal in the fifteenth case. On December 18, 2014, the government closed the Artesia facility and transferred a small number of clients to detention centers in Texas, where the Project continues to represent them. Over 1,200 women and children were served in the Project’s short tenure.