Karnes Pro Bono Project Volunteer Work

“These experiences are so incredibly formative for me, getting the opportunity to help these families and work alongside such compassionate and intelligent people like yourselves. I am hopeful I contributed some good, but I know for certain this work centers me, makes me take stock of my life and practice, and re-prioritizes me to focus on making this world better however possible.”
– Chris Meuse, Volunteer

The volunteer work at Karnes may involve a combination of the following:

  • Conducting intake with clients, through which we obtain basic information to assess their legal needs.
  • Interview prep, in which we help clients articulate their case before an asylum officer, who will decide if they will be fast tracked for deportation or are eligible to ask for protection in the U.S.
  • Providing “know your rights” information regarding how to navigate immigration proceedings if they are released from detention. Drafting declarations or affidavits with a template provided.
  • Legal research and country conditions research.
  • Representing clients telephonically or in person for their Credible or Reasonable Fear Interview.
  • Representing clients in their hearings before an immigration judge.

Note: Only law students or attorneys may engage in representation before the Asylum Office or Immigration Court; this opportunity is not guaranteed as it is dependent on government scheduling.

This trip is a great opportunity to serve people in detention who need legal services; we are confident that you will leave our project with a sense of humility and fulfillment. To help us help you, we strongly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. As mentioned before, Karnes is a restrictive and traumatizing environment for detained families, so maintaining a conscientious and flexible demeanor helps reduce further stress to you, our clients, and our staff.

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