Types of Volunteer Opportunities

The Immigration Justice Campaign offers several different types of volunteer opportunities that require varying levels of experience and a variety of skill sets. See below for more details about each opportunity. If you are interested in specific volunteer opportunities, please submit our Volunteer Opportunity Application Form. If you aren’t sure what type of volunteer opportunity you are best suited for, please submit our General Volunteer Application Form. *Note: please only complete one application.

Prepare Parole Requests to Seek Release for Detained Asylum Seekers
Detained asylum seekers may be eligible to request that ICE release them on “parole” while their asylum cases are pending in immigration court. Parole requests are filed with ICE and consist of a letter with supporting documentation.
Location Fully remote
Hours and Duration 10-15 hours to prepare parole request and up to 2 months of phone and email follow-up with deportation officer.
Types of Volunteers Needed Attorneys
Volunteer Role Represent a detained asylum seeker by preparing a request for release on parole with supporting documentation, submit the parole request to the individual’s deportation officer, and then continue to follow-up with the deportation officer to make sure the release request is decided.
Interpretation Volunteers are encouraged to secure their own interpreters. In some circumstances, the Justice Campaign may be able to arrange for a volunteer interpreter to work with you.
Malpractice Coverage Generally available through the Immigration Justice Campaign’s referring partner agencies, with the exception of the International Institute of Akron (IIA) in Ohio or the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Represent Immigrants Seeking Release on Bond
Some detainees are eligible for release on bond while their cases are pending in immigration court. Volunteers who take on bond cases will prepare bond motions with supporting documentation and argue the bond motion in immigration court.
Locations
  • Remote or in person - Denver, Colorado - Denver Detention Facility
  • In person - Newark, New Jersey - Elizabeth Detention Center and Essex County Correctional Facility
  • Fully remote - Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington
  • Remote or in person - Youngstown, Ohio - Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
Hours and Duration 25-50 hours over 2-4 weeks
Types of Volunteers Needed Attorneys
Volunteer Role Represent a detained immigrant in seeking release on bond. Speak with detainee by phone or in person to gather information needed to draft a motion for release on bond. Gather documentation in support of the bond motion by collecting statements of the detainee’s friends and family members and/or other documentation. Draft the bond motion and file it with the immigration court. Prepare your client for the hearing and argue the motion in immigration court.
Interpretation/Translation Volunteers are encouraged to secure their own interpreters. In some circumstances, the Justice Campaign may be able to arrange for a volunteer interpreter to work with you.
Malpractice Coverage Generally available through Immigration Justice Campaign’s referring partner agencies, with the exception of the International Institute of Akron (IIA) in Ohio or the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Represent an Asylum Seeker in their Deportation Proceedings
Detained asylum seekers must present their claims for asylum before an immigration judge at a full hearing in immigration court. This is their request for relief from deportation. Asylum hearings are adversarial in nature and require presenting detailed oral testimony by the asylum applicant plus evidentiary submissions.
Locations
  • Denver, Colorado - Denver Detention Facility
  • Newark, New Jersey - Elizabeth Detention Center and Essex County Correctional Facility
  • Georgia and Louisiana - Stewart Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, Folkston ICE Processing Center, LaSalle ICE Processing Center
  • Youngstown, Ohio - Northeast Ohio Correctional Center

*Note: if you live far from the detention center, there are ways to meet with your client by telephone or videoconference so that travel to the facility is required only 1 or 2 times. You can also file motions to appear telephonically at preliminary hearings (although not the final merits hearing).
Hours and Duration 50-150 hours over 3-4 months
Types of Volunteers Needed Attorneys
Volunteer Role Represent a detained asylum seeker in their asylum merits case. Meet with your client at the facility to understand their story and fear of persecution in their country of origin. (This work can be done remotely at some sites.) Assist client in preparing and filing asylum application and supporting documentation, including corroborating evidence and information about the conditions in their country of origin. Appear at final adversarial merits hearing before immigration judge and assist in presenting your client’s testimony and evidence in support of asylum.
Interpretation/Translation Volunteers are encouraged to secure their own interpreters. In some circumstances, the Justice Campaign may be able to arrange for a volunteer interpreter to work with you.
Malpractice Coverage Generally available through Immigration Justice Campaign’s referring partner agencies, with the exception of the International Institute of Akron (IIA) in Ohio or the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Conduct Country Conditions Research for Pro Se Asylum Seekers
Asylum seekers must submit evidence of the conditions in their countries of origin that give rise to their fear of persecution. Because of their conditions of confinement, detained asylum seekers often do not have the resources to do this research.
Location Fully remote
Hours and Duration 10-15 hours over 2-4 weeks
Types of Volunteers Needed Attorneys, Law Students, Paralegals
Volunteer Role Conduct basic internet research and compile news articles, reports from government agencies (e.g., U.S. State Department), non-profits (e.g., Human Rights Watch), and other sources to substantiate an asylum applicant’s claim of fear of persecution if they return to their country of origin. Country condition packets are often hundreds of pages in length. Print copies of the country conditions packet and mail to the detainee appearing pro se.
Malpractice Coverage Not needed because no appearance is entered
Spend 1 Week at a Detention Center
Spend one week in Dilley, Texas at the largest family detention center in the country or spend one week in Georgia or Louisiana screening detainees for eligibility for relief or working on bond motions to obtain their release. Volunteers spending a week “on the ground” at a detention center will be received and supervised by our partner organizations’ local staff members.
Locations
  • Dilley, Texas - South Texas Family Residential Center (with the Dilley Pro Bono Project)
  • Georgia and Louisiana - Stewart Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, Folkston ICE Processing Center, LaSalle ICE Processing Center (with the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC))
Hours and Duration
  • Dilley: 1 week, from Sunday afternoon to Friday evening; 12- to 15-hour days
  • Georgia and Louisiana: 5 days, from Monday to Friday; 8- to 10-hour days
Volunteer Role
  • Dilley – Volunteers are critical to providing services to the thousands of women and children detained at this facility after fleeing persecution in their countries of origin. Volunteers help screen the families detained at Dilley and prepare them for their credible and reasonable fear interviews. The volunteer work is extremely demanding. Volunteers will spend long hours in the detention center’s visitation trailer each day. Work varies depending on the needs each week. Volunteers need to report to the on-the-ground staff and be willing to follow their direction and take on a variety of tasks ranging from data entry and scanning to preparing clients for credible and reasonable fear interviews. Flexibility is a must. For more information, see our Dilley Pro Bono Project page.
  • Georgia and Louisiana – Volunteers travel to remote detention centers in the southeastern United States, where rates of representation are some of the lowest in the country. Volunteers assist the SPLC’s local staff with screening detainees to determine their eligibility for relief. For those that are bond-eligible, volunteers conduct research and evidence collection or help draft bond motions seeking detainees’ release.
Types of Volunteers Needed
  • Dilley – Attorneys, Law Students, Paralegals, Interpreters, Mental Health Professionals, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Georgia and Louisiana - Attorneys, Law Students, Paralegals, and Interpreters
Interpretation/Translation The vast majority of the clients we see in Dilley are Spanish speakers, and we therefore require that almost all of our volunteers speak Spanish. We do have limited spots for non-Spanish speakers, but because they fill up quickly, we may need to schedule your volunteer week farther into the future. We also ask that volunteers who do not speak Spanish secure their own interpretation for the week. This could mean inviting a Spanish-speaking friend or colleague to accompany you or to be available to interpret by phone for various blocks of time throughout the week.
Malpractice Coverage Not needed as a general matter because no appearance is entered.
Provide Interpretation/Translation Services
For a variety of our opportunities above, assist in the provision of legal services by providing in-person or telephonic interpretation for volunteer attorneys or provide English translation of documents.
Locations
  • In person or remote - Dilley, Texas - South Texas Family Residential Center
  • Fully remote for Remote Bond Team - Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington
  • In person or remote - partner sites as follows:
    • Denver, Colorado - Denver Detention Facility
    • Newark, New Jersey - Elizabeth Detention Center and Essex County Correctional Facility
    • Georgia and Louisiana - Stewart Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, Folkston ICE Processing Center, LaSalle ICE Processing Center
    • Youngstown, Ohio - Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
Hours and Duration
  • Remote Bond Team - 10-15 hours for 2-3 weeks after being paired with attorney in need of interpretation assistance.
  • Other opportunities can vary widely depending on your availability. Some translations can be done in 30 minutes and some will take 10 hours. Some volunteers can offer an hour or two of telephonic interpretation while some prefer to sign on for an entire bond or merits case, working with the same pro bono attorney and client throughout the process. In person interpretation also includes travel time to the detention center and the wait time once you have arrived.
Types of Volunteers Needed Interpreters/Translators
(No professional certificates are required. We only need to know that you are fully bilingual and have a letter of recommendation.)
Volunteer Role
  • Remote Bond Team: Provide interpretation assistance over the phone for attorneys working on remote bond representation. Phone calls would be with the detainee seeking release on bond and/or with other individuals (e.g., friends or family members) providing statements in support of the bond application. Potentially provide written translation of documents for attorneys.
  • Dilley, TX – Remote Telephonic Interpretation: Provide interpretation assistance for volunteers working at the South Texas Family Residential Center who are assisting mothers and children fleeing violence in their countries of origin. Interpreters are needed during meetings to prepare mothers for their credible fear interviews before the asylum office.
  • Dilley, TX – In-person Interpretation: Travel to Dilley and work in the Visitation Trailer with the On-the-Ground Legal Service Team to lead intake talks, credible fear interview talks, assist women with filling out the initial intake paperwork, assist with scanning and data entry as needed, and interpret for non-Spanish speaking attorney volunteers.
  • Partner Sites: Provide interpretation in-person and/or by phone for attorneys working on bond or merits cases.
  • Translations are needed for case work at all sites. There is a specific Certificate of Translation that is required from the Immigration Courts.
Provide a Mental Health Evaluation
Perform a telephonic or in-person psychological evaluation for an immigrant detainee. Write up the evaluation into the form of an expert declaration, which will then be submitted to either an immigration court or government agency to support some form of relief for the detainee.
Locations
  • In person or remote - Denver, Colorado - Denver Detention Facility
  • In person or remote - Dilley, Texas - South Texas Family Residential Center
  • In person or remote - Newark, New Jersey - Elizabeth Detention Center and Essex County Correctional Facility
  • In person or remote (including video-conferencing ability) – Georgia and Louisiana - Stewart Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, Folkston ICE Processing Center, LaSalle ICE Processing Center
  • In person or remote - Youngstown, Ohio - Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
  • Fully remote for Remote Bond Team - Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington
Types of Volunteers Needed Mental health professionals
Volunteer Role Either visit in person or speak by phone/video-conference (as available) with a detained immigrant who has been identified by our local partners or volunteer attorneys as experiencing mental health-related concerns. Conduct professional mental health evaluation to determine psychological condition of the individual and potential causes. Compile observations and findings into an expert declaration, which will then be submitted in support of some form of relief for the detainee—e.g., a request for release from the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or an asylum application before the immigration court. Must be available to testify in Court telephonically in the event that the Court requires oral testimony beyond the written declaration.
Provide a Forensic Medical Examination
Perform a telephonic (and documents-based), skype, or in-person forensic medical examination for an immigrant detainee. Write up the evaluation in the form of an expert declaration, which will be submitted to either an immigration court or government agency to support some form of relief for the detainee.
Locations
  • In person or remote - Denver, Colorado - Denver Detention Facility
  • In person or remote - Dilley, Texas - South Texas Family Residential Center
  • In person or remote - Newark, New Jersey - Elizabeth Detention Center and Essex County Correctional Facility
  • In person or remote (including video-conferencing ability) – Georgia and Louisiana - Stewart Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, Folkston ICE Processing Center, LaSalle ICE Processing Center
  • In person or remote - Youngstown, Ohio - Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
  • Fully remote for Remote Bond Team - Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington
Types of Volunteers Needed Physicians
Volunteer Role Either visit in person or speak by phone/video-conference (as available) with a detained immigrant who has been identified by our local partners or volunteer attorneys as having physical trauma that is related to their immigration case. Conduct forensic medical examination to determine the physical condition of the individual and potential causes. Compile observations and findings into an expert declaration, which will be submitted in support of some form of relief for the detainee—e.g., a request for release from the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or an asylum application before the immigration court. Must be available to testify in Court telephonically in the event that the Court requires oral testimony beyond the written declaration.
Represent an Asylum Seeker in their Board of Immigration Appeals Case
If a detained asylum seeker loses his or her case before the Immigration Judge, they have an opportunity to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Oral argument is not required—decisions are issued based on the record and appeal briefs. This is a fully remote volunteer opportunity.
Locations

Fully remote

Our clients are detained in the following locations (which you do NOT need to visit for this volunteer opportunity):

  • Denver, Colorado - Denver Detention Facility
  • Newark, New Jersey - Elizabeth Detention Center and Essex County Correctional Facility
  • Georgia and Louisiana - Stewart Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, Folkston ICE Processing Center, LaSalle ICE Processing Center
  • Youngstown, Ohio - Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
Hours and Duration

25-50 hours over the course of several months

  • After the Notice of Appeal form is filed, it takes 4-8 weeks for the BIA to issue a briefing schedule.
  • You are given approx. 3 weeks to submit the brief (one extension is available)
  • It may take the BIA several months to issue a decision
Types of Volunteers Needed Attorneys
Volunteer Role Represent a detained asylum seeker in their appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Volunteers will need to review the record of proceedings and transcript for their client’s case. Volunteers will be expected to file a Notice of Appeal (EOIR-27) within 30 days of the Immigration Judge’s adverse decision and timely submit an appeal brief according to the schedule subsequently assigned by the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Interpretation/Translation Although volunteers do not need to meet with their detained clients, they are asked to make arrangements to call their clients at the start of the representation to introduce themselves and describe the appeals process, answering any questions the clients may have. Volunteers are encouraged to secure their own interpreters for this phone call, if needed. In some circumstances, the Justice Campaign may be able to arrange for a volunteer interpreter to participate in this call with you.
Malpractice Coverage Generally available through Immigration Justice Campaign’s referring partner agencies, with the exception of the International Institute of Akron (IIA) in Ohio or the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Six Dilley Pro Bono Project volunteers report from their week on-the-ground with the Dilley Pro Bono Project

Watch our Dilley Snapshots

Where We Work

Have a question about volunteering? Need help? Get in contact with us or visit our resources page.