American Bar Association Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono (ABA)

  • Supports expanded rights for illegal aliens

The American Bar Association Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono (ABACIP) consists of thirteen individuals appointed by the American Bar Association (ABA) President to direct ABA efforts to ensure fair and unbiased treatment, and full due process rights, for immigrants and refugees within the United States. The Commission was formed in 2002 by the merger of two existing ABA entities: the Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law and the Advisory Committee to the Immigration Pro Bono Development and Bar Activation Project.

Today ABACIP provides attorneys with continuing education about trends and court decisions, and develops pro bono programs that encourage volunteer lawyers to provide “high quality, effective legal representation for individuals in immigration courts, with special emphasis on the needs of the most vulnerable immigrant and refugee populations.” The Commission also advocates changes in immigration laws and procedures.

According to the ABA’s 2003 Legislative and Governmental Priorities regarding immigration, “The ABA supports legal immigration based on family reunification and employment skills, due process safeguards in immigration and asylum adjudications, and judicial review of such decisions … the restoration of public benefits to legal immigrants and refugees, and improving the wages, working conditions and legal status of farm workers in the United States. The ABA opposes laws that require employers and persons providing education, health care, or other social services to verify citizenship or immigration status.” Under a separate heading dealing with anti-terrorism measures, the ABA states that it “opposes the incommunicado detention of foreign nationals in undisclosed locations by the INS or the Department of Homeland Security,” and that it “supports disclosure including the names of the detainees, the nature of the charges involved, and public removal hearings except in extraordinary circumstances.”

ABACIP has received financial support from George Soros‘s Open Society Institute.