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Immigration Law

Jones Day Leads Immigration Pro Bono Push for Refugee Kids, Moms

Stephen J. Brogan, Oct. 2015 - "A relatively recent study found that 75 percent of represented children were granted the right to remain in the United States as compared to 15 percent of unrepresented children. Since these children are usually in the custody of adults who are themselves illegal and have little contact with legal counsel, it is not surprising that more than 60 percent of the unaccompanied minors do not show up at all for their removal hearing when the date finally does arrive. In that event, a deportation order is entered by default, but, as the immigrant community knows, such orders are generally not enforced. Thus, tens of thousands of young immigrants seeking to escape their lawless countries have become lawless in the United States. To help address this problem, Jones Day has, since July 2014, assigned more than 150 lawyers to represent unaccompanied children and mothers in various legal proceedings. We are currently counsel in more than 100 cases, many involving multiple immigrant clients. It is an investment of millions of dollars of time and expense that we are fortunate to be able to contribute. Our clients, the poorest of the poor, are stunned when they finally understand that we do not work for the government but are instead working for them. And they are even more stunned, and profoundly grateful, when our lawyers actually show up, returning day after day to marshal evidence, prepare arguments and advocate on their behalf. Although we are the most active law firm on this matter, our efforts are a proverbial drop in the bucket."