Virginia, US

Fragomen Launches Nationwide Pro Bono Initiative

Fragomen, the world’s leading firm exclusively devoted to counseling corporate clients on global immigration law, is partnering with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) on a major pro bono initiative to represent unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings in the United States. The program was initiated in response to the unprecedented crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where tens of thousands of children have arrived after fleeing abuse and violence in Central America.

In addition to supporting KIND, Fragomen will also work with trusted local non-profits such as The Safe Passage Project in New York City, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Phoenix and the Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego.

“Fragomen has a long-standing commitment to pro bono work, and our attorneys have had many notable successes over the years in providing critical legal assistance to people in need,” said Austin Fragomen, partner and chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee. “Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Vera Institute of Justice indicate that 40 to 60 percent of unaccompanied immigrant children may be eligible for asylum or other relief. The numbers may actually be higher. But because there is no right to court-appointed counsel in immigration court, we think it is our duty as the country’s largest immigration law firm to step in and provide representation to as many of these children as we can.”

“Fragomen recognizes the vital importance of representation for these children and the reality that without an attorney, many will be returned to grave harm, and even death,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Fragomen’s willingness to make a significant commitment to helping unaccompanied children is a testament to the firm’s compassion and dedication to the most vulnerable. We are grateful for and applaud their efforts.”

In addition to taking on individual cases of unaccompanied immigrant children, Fragomen attorneys are also volunteering at juvenile dockets in immigration court, where they screen children for potential eligibility for relief from deportation and for referral to pro bono attorneys or non-profit legal services organizations. Senior attorneys are mentoring junior lawyers, and Fragomen offices around the country are staffing pro bono legal clinics and hosting training sessions and educational forums for pro bono attorneys on representing children in immigration matters.

“The importance of legal representation cannot be overstated,” said Careen Shannon, counsel in Fragomen’s New York office and the firm’s point person on the campaign. “Immigrants who are represented by counsel are overwhelmingly more likely to prevail in removal proceedings than are those without counsel.” 

About Fragomen 

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP and Fragomen Global LLP (collectively known as Fragomen) is the world’s largest firm practicing exclusively in the area of global immigration law for the corporate sector. Fragomen provides immigration services worldwide to multinational corporations, emerging companies, universities and many other organizations that employ foreign nationals on a temporary or permanent basis. Founded in 1951, Fragomen has more than 2,000 immigration professionals located in more than 40 offices and 18 countries. Internationally, the Firm provides clients with advice on immigration policy, compliance and program management, and prepares applications for visas, work permits, and resident permits. For detailed information about Fragomen's practice, please visit www.fragomen.com.

About KIND 

KIND was founded by Angelina Jolie and the Microsoft Corporation to ensure that no immigrant or refugee child has to appear in immigration court alone. Through partnerships with more than 220 law firm, corporate, and law school partners, KIND matches unaccompanied children with pro bono attorneys who represent the children throughout their proceedings. KIND trains and mentors its volunteer attorneys; KIND has created a pool of more than 8,000 volunteer attorneys across the country in the eight cities in which we work: Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C, and has been referred more than 6,400 children. We achieve fundamental fairness through high-quality legal representation and by advancing the child's best interests, safety, and well-being. www.supportkind.org