The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project
As children from around the world flee dangerous situations by traveling thousands of miles without adult assistance, they often arrive in America to find themselves detained by the U.S. government. Most of the children are non-English speaking. All of them have little or no money, no right to appointed counsel, and do not receive a guardian ad litem.
The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) provides pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas. After fleeing violent crimes against their family, civil war, political persecution, and abuse, arriving at ProBAR is the best prospect of hope for a safe future in America.
Volunteer attorneys, law students, interpreters, and legal assistants make these dreams possible through the donation of time and talents. But none of this would be possible without the financial support from organizations nationwide, including the annual support from the Texas Bar Foundation.
“When Colombian guerrillas made us abandon our land forcing us to live as displaced people because of the violence in Bogota. There we lived for years and at the same time burying the assassinated and many disappeared members of our families. I turned myself in to Immigration in Brownsville. I went to one of the classes that ProBAR gave to the detainees so that they could know the rights they had. In a moment I started having hopes and dreams again. In that moment, ProBAR started to give me support. Truthfully, ProBAR contributed to the first step in a transformation, not only mine, but that of all of my family. Now that I was here, I could support them in leaving Colombia and reach security and tranquility in the form of political asylum in Argentina.”
-Rodrigo who won asylum in 2006, now a university student in San Francisco
“It’s like someone who helped you when you can’t see, like if I was blind and ProBAR gave me my eyes. I did not have a life and ProBAR gave me a life. It is not a life without peace, ProBAR gave me peace.”
-Abdi who was granted asylum 2007 and now lives in Denver where he works and a McDonalds, is taking English classes, and plans to enroll in community college