Pro Bono Partner Steven Schulman Co-Writes Opinion Piece Supporting Senate Immigration Reform Bill

Akin Gump pro bono partner Steven Schulman, in his capacity as president-elect of the Association for Pro Bono Counsel, has co-written an op-ed with current president Latonia Haney Keith supporting S.744, the U.S. Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The opinion piece notes that S.744 will allow pro bono attorneys to provide legal services to immigrants—the largest single area of pro bono involvement—“more effectively and efficiently.”  Among the provisions of this piece of legislation that the authors single out as particularly important to pro bono practitioners:

  • Section 3401, by removing the bar on asylum applications filed more than a year after a person enters the United States, would increase the availability of pro bono services and would “prevent refugees with legitimate asylum requests from being denied asylum,” among other beneficial impacts.
  • Section 3501 would increase the number of immigration judges and support staff and, thereby, improve immigrants’ access to pro bono counsel by “reducing the current backlog in some immigration courts.”
  • Section 3502 would require the attorney general to appoint counsel for unaccompanied minors and individuals with serious mental disabilities, which “will allow pro bono lawyers to focus on those cases that are more appropriate for attorneys who are not experts in dealing with these populations.”

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