Karnes Pro Bono Program

The Karnes Pro Bono Project was launched in 2014 by a group of attorneys committed to serving the legal needs of women and children in the newly opened Karnes family detention center (“Karnes”). The project has since come under the direction of RAICES, providing free legal services to people in ICE custody at Karnes. The families are typically forced to pass a credible or reasonable fear interview before they can be released to pursue asylum. The failure to meet these requirements for asylum can lead to deportation, which can mean a return to persecution and death. Currently, fathers and sons are detained at Karnes.

RAICES provides support to detained families by preparing them for their screening interviews, representing them in hearings before an immigration judge if they fail their interview, and submitting requests for reconsideration to the Asylum Office if the immigration judge affirms the negative interview decision. When the need arises, RAICES has helped persons detained at Karnes with parole requests, bond motions, asylum applications, representation in final asylum hearings in immigration court, and in appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Our work also includes public advocacy campaigns and regular involvement with litigation and policy advocacy.

With the help of our volunteers, RAICES has been able to provide representation to up to 90% of the families at Karnes.

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