What is the Karnes Pro Bono Project? LEARN HOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER


RAICES (the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) was founded in 1987 to respond to the needs of migrants fleeing civil war and social upheavals arriving from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Now in its third decade, RAICES has a hardworking legal team and dedicated volunteers to staff nine offices across the state of Texas. RAICES provides services to assist: asylum seekers, detained adults, families and unaccompanied children, survivors of crime and/ or torture, refugees, and low-income immigrants. Click here to learn more about RAICES.

Family Detention

Under the Obama Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) partnered with for-profit prison corporations to use detention as a way to deter migrants, and in particular migrant children seeking asylum, from crossing the U.S. border. This wave expanded the criminalization of immigrants and led to the resurgence of family detention centers.

In August 2014, a converted prison facility for adult males in Karnes County, Texas, became the fourth family detention center to open in the United States since family internment camps were used during World War II. It is operated by the for-profit, private prison corporation, GEO Group, Inc., and has capacity to detain 532 people. It remains one of three facilities in operation today that detains immigrant women with their children.

The Karnes Pro Bono Project

The Karnes Pro Bono Project was formed in 2014 by a group of immigration advocates and volunteer attorneys. Now under the direction of RAICES, the Karnes Pro Bono Project relies on a small amount of staff and many volunteers to assist the women and children detained at the Karnes County Family Detention Center.

We have the goals to ensure that:

The crisis does not go unheard.

Every woman gets pro bono legal information and services.

Help us and join the fight to end family detention!

Who Do We Serve at Karnes?

The Karnes County Family Detention Center exists to detain adult women with their biological children between one-and-a-half and eighteen years of age. These families come from all parts of the globe but the majority are arriving asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle, composed of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Once in the asylum process, detained women and children must pass a credible or reasonable fear interview to be eligible for release from ICE custody. Failure to meet the requirements of asylum leads to deportation, which for many families means a return to danger, or possibly death.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is a legal protection designated for persons who are unable to stay in their home country due to a fear of persecution based on one’s race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. It grants relief from deportation and is recognized by national and international law. To ask for asylum, one must be on U.S. soil and have a fear of returning to their home country.

What Do We Do at Karnes?

The Karnes Pro Bono Project offers free legal information and services to families who are detained in the Karnes County Family Detention Center. Our services include: educating women on the asylum process within the detention center, preparing women for their fear interviews, appealing negative decisions and representing women and their children in front of an immigration judge, and informing women on the post-release immigration process. We strive to be a trusted source of legal information and to respond to the varied and pressing needs of detained women and children.

Join Our Team!

There are many ways to get involved in the Karnes Pro Bono Project!

Do you speak Spanish and are able to come down to south Texas? We invite you to volunteer with our staff at the Detention Center and work directly to provide legal information and services to the women and children there.

Are you an attorney or law student with extra time to give? Maybe you can help with remote work, like a Request for Re-interview or legal research.

Do you speak a language other than English and like interpreting? We are in constant need of on-the-ground and remote volunteer translators.

Are you passionate about ending family detention but can’t volunteer in the detention center? Let us know. We are always in need of extra help!

If anything above caught the attention of your eyes or heart, or if you have a particular skill set that you’re enthusiastic to share, let us know! It takes all sorts of people to end family detention.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.