American Bar Endowment Funds Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition

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WASHINGTON, DC—The American Bar Endowment offered a grant to Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition.

Carolyn Lamm, ABE’s President-Elect and former DC Bar President, said, “Because of the generous donations of thousands of ABA lawyer members who contribute available annual dividends from their ABE-sponsored insurance plans, the ABE is able to make annual grants. With the financial support of our insureds, we fund a diverse array of organizations and projects, including programs that ensure due process to immigrants and asylum seekers, such as the Captial Area Immigrants Rights Coalition.”

The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition serves 11 local government detention centers, where access to a lawyer is the most critical factor in whether a person’s immigration claim is successful. Due in large part to the prohibition of the use of technology in the detention centers, not enough clients receive detailed legal screenings that help them make an informed decision about their legal case. With an ABE grant, the CAIR Coalition is working to create and deploy novel technology connected to case management databases. With improved technology, their lawyers will not have to transcribe interview notes manually, improving efficiencies and allowing CAIR Coalition to double or triple the number of screenings conducted each year.

Kathy Doan, CAIR Coalition’s, Executive Director, said, “We are so grateful to receive this important grant. It will allow us to provide real justice to more detained immigrants and asylum seekers. The detailed interviews take time. With the new technology, our lawyers can be more efficient, serving more clients. While not all the clients will be allowed to remain in the United States, each client will be able to understand their rights and, with her lawyer, make an informed choice about options. We are delivering on the promise of due process and this is justice.”

Since receiving the grant, CAIR Coalition has been working with consultants to scope the project and, despite delays due to COVID-19, are hoping to award a contract soon. “We have learned since the pandemic started,” Ms. Doan said, “that technology is make or break for legal services and this grant is allowing us to leverage new technology to better serve our clients.”

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