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September 23, 2019

King & Spalding Pro Bono Team Assists Asylum Seekers at Border

A team of King & Spalding lawyers visited the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas to assist immigrants detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with their asylum claims. Their visit is part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to immigration pro bono work.

At the Humanitarian Respite Center, the King & Spalding team gave “Know Your Rights” presentations to large groups of immigrants recently released from ICE custody. They also talked one-on-one with immigrants to answer their questions. In addition to helping individual immigrants identify when and where their upcoming court appearances and ICE check-ins will be, the team facilitated the filing of pro se motions to change venue for several individuals and their families, which will ensure compliance with future court appearances and check-ins.  

The Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center was initiated as a direct response to the refugee relief crisis that began in June of 2014 in the Rio Grande Valley and since has served 100,000 refugees. The center provides asylum-seeking immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border with medical assistance and legal information in addition to basic resources such as food and clothing. The King & Spalding pro bono team is identifying other collaboration opportunities with the center to build a stronger partnership. The lawyers that visited the center this time included Washington, D.C., partners Brian Stansbury and Josh Toll and Houston senior associate Fernando Rodriguez-Cortina and Charlotte associate Joey Polonsky.

King & Spalding is committed to immigration pro bono work at the border. In August 2018, a team of King & Spalding lawyers visited the Port Isabel Detention Facility to interview detained immigrants who had been separated from their children. The team included Brian Stansbury, Joey Polonsky, Lohr Beck-Kemp, Kate Benner, Brianna Kostecka, Barbara Medrado Dias Silveira, and former attorney Wintta Woldemariam. They have continued to represent five clients in their asylum cases, and have helped reunite these clients with their children. Last year, as part of this effort, a litigation team of King & Spalding lawyers filed two related habeas challenges in federal court in Washington, D.C. and successfully cancelled the planned deportations of their clients, who have since been released from incarceration and provided court dates in the asylum system. The team included Marty McNerney, Naana Frimpong, Kate Benner, Rebeca Ojeda, TaCara Harris, Clarissa Moliterno and Wintta Woldemariam.

About King & Spalding
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