Resources for Humanitarian Crisis
July 25, 2014
Not surprisingly, our community and folks across Texas are responding with compassion to the humanitarian crisis taking place at our border. People are donating time, money, and expertise to be of help to these children in need. My office has been tracking ways to get involved you can find a few of the many resources here.
- The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has noted that many Texans have asked about becoming foster parents for the many unaccompanied children who recently have entered the U.S. from Central America. DFPS has instructed folks who want to learn more about this situation and how to become a foster parent for the Unaccompanied Alien Children’s program to visit the following website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/unaccompanied-children-frequently-asked-questions.
- The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition recently updated their website with instructions for how to help: http://austinirc.org/?p=1562.
- Catholic Charities of Central Texas is already working to assist in doing what’s in the best interest of the child – both in terms of treating them with respect, dignity and compassion, as well as helping them navigate the legal and social services system. They have outlined very specific ways folks can be helpful on their website: http://ccctx.org/ils/unaccompaniedminors.
- Interested attorneys: American Gateways notes that many of the children may be eligible for a form of immigration relief known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS presents a unique opportunity for pro bono attorneys to gain experience working with both the Travis County family courts and U.S. immigration. In order to meet the anticipated increase in demand for assistance with SIJS cases, American Gateways will be partnering with Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texasto provide training and mentoring for pro bono attorneys interested in taking on these cases. Here’s more information on that upcoming training:
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Unaccompanied Minors: In collaboration with the Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, American Gateways will be holding a training for pro bono attorneys interested in representing minors in their application for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). The training will be hosted by the law firm of McGinnis Lochridge and Kilgore and will take place on Wednesday August 20, 2014 from 11:00AM until 1:00PM. The training will offer a basic overview of both the family court and immigration components of the SIJS process. The address for the training: 600 Congress Ave #2100, Austin, TX 78701
- Lastly, the Texas arm of National Association of Social Workers has some great content on their website. I encourage you to check it out: http://www.naswtx.org/news/181328/NASW-Response-to-Humanitarian-Crisis-at-the-Border.htm.
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