State Bar appeals for immigration volunteers

HARLINGEN — Texas lawyers are being urged to volunteer. The president of the State Bar Association of Texas released a statement to members Thursday listing ways attorneys can help in the immigration effort in South Texas.

Tom Vick listed a number of organizations located along the border that provide legal counsel when it comes to immigration, including the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project.

“Although the Trump administration signed an executive order to end family separations, the need for volunteer attorneys remains strong, particularly Spanish-speaking immigration lawyers,”Vick said in his statement.

ProBAR is a national and joint effort between various legal associations to provide pro bono, or free, legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas.

Located in Harlingen, the office is seeking volunteers with various legal backgrounds and knowledge of the Spanish language.

Volunteer lawyers at ProBAR work in various capacities depending on their experience level and the time they are willing to donate.

There are positions for long-term and short-term attorneys who work varied lengths and are given caseloads equal to their time in the Valley.

Law students or attorneys with limited experience are assigned to work on asylum applications and preparing clients.

Senior attorneys are invited to host trainings on immigration law.

“Assuring equal access to justice and supporting the administration of the legal system are essential parts of our State Bar’s mission,” Vick said. “We will continue to identify and provide resources to lawyers and the public to aid in responding to this situation.”