One of the world’s largest information and power disparity exists throughout the U.S. asylum adjudication system. A disparity exacerbated by the federal government’s recent attacks on asylum law and a concerning lack of access to free or affordable legal representation; putting refugees at an insurmountable disadvantage as they request safety in the United States. Under the current system, a person’s inability to explain their personal experiences within the context of relevant law means certain deportation back to harm’s way. Those seeking asylum in the United States are 5x less likely to succeed if not represented by an attorney.
While Innovation Law Lab is working diligently to increase legal representation at every step of a refugee’s journey, we recognize the legal community’s current limitations for providing free or affordable legal representation to all asylum-seekers in the United States. We also recognize how dire the situation has become for those unable to access even the most minimal legal services. And as a result, we are building models of support to reduce the harm felt in the increasingly large unrepresented population.
Over the past year, Innovation Law Lab has been collaborating closely with organizations across the United States to launch Asylum Workshop programs which work to inform, empower, and provide limited legal services to unrepresented individuals and families. As part of this ongoing initiative, Innovation Law Lab and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies have produced a Spanish-language informational video about asylum eligibility requirements which can be shared with persons fleeing persecution who have yet to retain legal representation or orientation. The “manita” framework used in this video was developed by Brenda Perez, a mijente member, as a popular education tool for asylum-seekers.
Please note that this video is created as a tool to inform and not intended to serve as legal advice. Please also note that asylum eligibility, legal processes, and federal immigration policies are rapidly changing and may apply differently to recently arrived refugees. We encourage all to consult with an experienced attorney for case-specific information.