Opportunity For Pro Bono Activity In Texas Detention Center

Volunteer opportunity

“I’ve never experienced anything so powerful.  This is why I became a lawyer.” – CARA Volunteer Attorney

http://caraprobono.org/volunteer/  A volunteer-built and volunteer-managed site. For the official word on the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, visit the individual sites linked on the Who page.  This site was built to make it easy for the volunteer community to get involved with the CARA Pro Bono Project.

CARA operates a non-traditional pro bono model of legal services that directly represents the children and women incarcerated at the Dilley, Texas detention center. The inhumane and illegal incarceration of children and mothers must be solved by everyone anywhere in the United States. Volunteer recruitment is active and CARA needs volunteers now.

Volunteer Now at Dilley!<https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/dilleyprobonoproject>

How does CARA work?

CARA operates an on-the-ground team that advocates for the children and women.  New volunteer teams arrive in Dilley each Sunday for orientation and work every day, usually 15-18 hours a day, through Friday.  At the end of the week, the new team arrives to take over and carry the work forward until all the children and women are released and the mass incarceration system ends.

All new volunteers are required to attend a pre-arrival web-based orientation.  This orientation takes place the week before you arrive on-the-ground.  It covers critical rules, goals, and systems.

All new volunteers are required to attend an on-the-ground orientation. This orientation takes place every Sunday in Dilley.  It covers the goals for the week, case assignments, task assignments, and everything else a volunteer needs to know.

All volunteers must be self-funded.  CARA provides no funding or financial assistance.  CARA’s partner organizations and allies may provide individual stipends or assistance.  You can donate to a CARA partner organization or ally

What do CARA volunteers do?

CARA volunteers appear in court, represent at credible fear interviews and bond proceedings, complete client intakes and client preparation; gather research and draft motions and declarations to support claims, and provide protection to the children and women from harsh detention conditions.  Advocates collect data and intelligence on DHS, ICE, and CBP detention practices with an eye towards shutting the facility down.

CARA provides orientation, training, and day to day guidance.  Volunteers are responsible for all their costs.  Independent fundraising is encouraged.

Who should volunteer?

The greatest need is for attorneys, law students and paralegals with interest and experience in asylum work.  Spanish speakers are preferred. If you don’t speak Spanish, you should consider collaborating with an interpreter to join you.  Non-immigration attorneys who speak Spanish are actively being recruited.  Other individuals are needed on the ground, too.  Social workers, psychologists, forensic anthropologists and individuals with strong research skills are needed. Compassion, endurance, resilience, flexibility, and commitment to ending incarceration of children are required for every volunteer.

How do I volunteer?

CARA organizes on-the-ground teams by matching skill sets with need. The on-the-ground team is at optimal efficiency with 15 volunteers. Volunteers should complete the volunteer application.  YOU SHOULD NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until your application has been accepted.  The volunteer coordinator matches applicants with project needs and may suggest a particular placement.

Volunteers are currently needed to assist with providing legal support for children and mothers detained at the Karnes Family Detention Center.  The Center, an hour south east of San Antonio, currently has bed space for up to 800 children and mothers, all families who have fled extreme violence in Central America.  As a volunteer you would work as part of the Karnes Pro Bono Project, providing legal support for families detained at the Center.

Ideal volunteers for this work are attorneys, law students or paralegals with an understanding of asylum law in the United States.  While experience is preferred, it is not a requirement as training will be provided to all volunteers before they enter the Center.  In order to help as part of this work it is required that you speak Spanish fluently, or that you are able to secure your own interpreter to join you at the Center.

Since the start of family detention in August of 2014 over 300 volunteers from around the country have helped provide legal services to over to over 3,000 asylum seekers.  We welcome volunteers from around the country and are able to assist in finding free homestays in San Antonio.  This is an opportunity that will stay with you for life, and we encourage you to join us in defending these vulnerable families.

To learn more and to volunteer in Karnes, please contact Andrea Meza at andrea.meza@raicestexas.org  <mailto:andrea.meza@raicestexas.org>.




Legalizing Othering – the United States of Islamophobia

Legalizing Othering – the United States of Islamophobia

The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society has published a Research Report (September 2017) about the rise of the “anti-Sharia law” movement since events of 9/11.  The report and online database aim to unmask the multiplicities of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam movements that have propelled the adoption of federal measures (2002 to present) and capitalized on electoral politics and state legislatures (2010 – 2016) to disproportionately legalize the “othering” of Muslims across the United States.

The title is available in the Alameda County Law Library collection  –

BP52/ .L44 / 2017

Legalizing othering : the United States of Islamophobia / by Elsadig Elsheikh, Basima Sisemore and Natalia Ramirez Lee.

Berkeley, CA : Haas Institute, 2017 Research Report September 2017.

California Already Has Its State Dinosaur

California already has its state dinosaur.  Help California county public law libraries avoid becoming the next generation of government dinosaurs.

Stephanie Abromowicz / Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

As of January 1, 2018, California designated an official state dinosaur – the Augustynolophus morrisi.  (Government Code Section 425.7(a))  And unless the state re-thinks how it is going to fund county public law libraries, it may have a lot more “official” dinosaurs all across the state.  2018 is turning out to be an important year for action in Sacramento for a real dinosaur and other don’t-want-to-be extinct historic government institutions.

Short story.

The California State Senate Budget Subcommittee has just moved forward with the county law libraries’ 2018 request for an appropriation.  A giant step down the budget process road.

The California State Senate Budget Subcommittee has just moved forward with the county law libraries’ 2018 request for an appropriation to try to help balance the revenue shortfalls from the past years.  The current need for library funding is dire, as civil filing fee revenue – the legislatively and historically established method for supporting county law library – has dropped 40% since 2009.   Publishing costs have risen over the same time frame.  Libraries are being squeezed.

We can use your voice.  Now.

Please consider letting Governor Brown and other elected officials know how much you support adequate funding for Alameda County Law Library and other state public law libraries.

Here is a sample letter.  Dear Governor Brown

Here is information on how to deliver your letters of support:

Due to the time sensitive nature of this request, we recommend fax.  Please send your letters to the Governor and any of the other people or entities at the fax numbers below.  If over the next few days, you drop your letters of support off at the Reference Desk, we will fax them for you.

Governor Brown – 916-558-3160

Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee – 916-668-7004

Holly Mitchell, Chair  – 916-651-4930    Jim Nielsen, Vice Chair – 916-651-4904

Assembly Budget Committee 916-319-2199

Philip Ting, Chair 916-319-2119     Jay Obernolte, Vice Chair 916-319-2133

 Assembly Budget Subcommittee 5

Shirley Weber, Chair 916-319-2179    Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer 916-319-2159    Tom Lackey 916-319-2136    Melissa Melendez 916-319-2167    Mark Stone 916-319-2129

If you do not have access to a fax, you may send emails to the following addresses.  Note, however, that the recipients will not receive attachments, so place your text within the email itself.  Also, from what we know, there is a long delay in such emails actually being read, which is why we are recommending fax instead.

 Gov. Brown


(or send a message here: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/)

 Senate member emails use the following format:


(ex. Senator.Portantino@senate.ca.gov)

 Assembly member emails use the following format:


(ex. Assemblymember.Cunningham@assembly.ca.gov

Long story.

Funding for county law libraries has been tentative for many years now.  We in California can no longer consider filing fees a workable funding method to sustain this important service.  Branches have already closed and others may close soon without further support.  California county law libraries are public libraries.  These public libraries provide legal information assistance to under-served, under-represented, and vulnerable populations.  County law libraries are in danger of becoming extinct, especially in rural communities, without sufficient appropriation in the state’s budget.  The demand for legal information services by self-represented individuals has never been greater, and county law libraries remain one of the few, if only, places where these individuals can get free help navigating the legal system.  The need for permanent state funding of county law libraries could not be more critical.

In Alameda County, over 50% of litigants appearing in Family Court and 25% involved in Civil Litigation represent themselves.  Many of these individuals rely entirely on the Law Library to research the law, draft legal forms, and prepare for court. County law libraries offer the general public free access to high-quality legal research materials, expert law librarians, and a variety of law-related clinics and workshops. The need for county law libraries has never been greater.

The Alameda County Law Library can no longer rely exclusively on court filing fees to adequately meet expenses, and must seek alternative sources of funding to sustain essential collections and services.

The Alameda County Law Library empowers Bay Area residents by providing them with the tools needed to successfully participate in the legal system. PLEASE ACT NOW to ensure the Law Library receives adequate funding to sustain operations by including a $16.5 million appropriation for California county law libraries in the State Budget, and establishing a Task Force to develop a sustainable funding model for California’s county law libraries.

How the budget process works.

The budget process for California defies a simple concise definition.  It is a process rather than a product. It is not the development of the Governor’s Budget, the Legislature’s enactment of a budget nor the executive branch’s administration of the budget.  Rather, it is the combination of all of these phases with all the ramifications and influences of political interactions, relationships with federal and local governments, public input, natural events, legal issues, the economy, initiatives and legislation, etc.

Here is an official, simplified description:

Late May – June 15  (Hence, the “NOW” above.)

The budget committee of each house considers the subcommittees’ reports and sends a revised budget bill to the floor for evaluation by the full body.  Each house discusses and then votes on its version of the budget bill.  The differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of the budget bill are worked out in a conference committee made up of three members from each house.  Upon completion of its review, the conference committee submits a single version of the budget bill to both houses.  The Senate and Assembly each vote on this final version before it is sent to the Governor.

The houses also vote on trailer bills if statutory changes are necessary to implement provisions of the budget bill.


Thank you for your support from the California county public law libraries who are trying to extricate themselves from the California tar pits of under-funding.


United States of Islamophobia – New Database – May 22 Program

United States of Islamophobia Database – Presentation

Tuesday, May 22, 2018   4:00 – 5:00 pm at Alameda County Law Library

Speaker – Elsadig Elsheikh, Director, Global Justice Program, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley recently released a searchable, public database of anti-Muslim bills designed to institutionalize the exclusion of Muslims from society.  The database also identifies the state legislators across the country who sponsored or advocated for the legislation.  The database includes detailed information on 216 bills introduced, since 2010, in 43 state legislatures that sought to ban “Sharia law,” or a set of guiding principles, from being considered by United States courts.

Elsadig Elsheikh

Mr. Elsheikh will discuss why and how the Haas Institute decided to develop the database, as well as, demonstrate the database, and discuss the implications nationally and internationally of  “othering” and fueling public fear of Muslims and Islam.

Elsadig Elsheikh is the Director of the Global Justice program at the Haas Institute, where he oversees the program’s projects on food system, global equity, and human rights.  Elsadig holds degrees and training from Panteion University/Athens, Greece, the Ohio State University/Ohio, SIT Graduate Institute/Vermont, and Columbia University/New York

More information about the release of the databases is available HERE.

Register online at ACLL’s Eventbrite site https://tinyurl.com/yc987drn

1 Hour of Participatory MCLE Credit in Recognition and Elimination of Bias  $25 advance registration, $35 day of event



Mother’s Day 2018 – AmazonSmile

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 13.  We know how wonderful our supporters are, so we are sure they will be shopping for nice gifts for the moms in their lives.

If you do your shopping on Amazon at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate to Alameda County Law Library.

A nice gift for Mom, good feelings for yourself, and an effortless contribution to ACLL — great pick-me-ups for all.

Thank you.