Updated Pro Se Immigrant Advocacy Materials Now Available

We are thrilled to announce that with support from the American College of Trial Lawyers Emil Gumpert Award, a set of 25 updated pro se advocacy guides is now available for download! You can find the guides here. Please see below for the official press release.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dorien Ediger-Seto: firrp@firrp.org, 520-868-0191 ext 103

Updated Florence Project Pro Se Immigrant Advocacy Materials Now Available

The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project is pleased to announce that updated pro se advocacy guides for immigrants in deportation proceedings are now available for use.

The Florence Project was founded in 1989 as a legal services organization dedicated to increasing due process and access to justice for Arizona’s detained immigrants. The Project earned a national reputation early on, based in large part on its ground-breaking work developing readable guides about immigration law for people navigating the deportation process without the help of a lawyer. Over the years, these materials have been distributed to thousands of people detained in remote facilities throughout the country, and the Project has periodically added new guides and updated old ones. “I came across one of your booklets and found it very helpful, full of needed information and useful tips,” said one California detainee in a letter to the Florence Project. “I want to tell you that I appreciate the hard work you do by putting this booklet together and helping people. Thank you very much for every bit of information.”

This project was made possible through the generosity of the American College of Trial Lawyers, who awarded the Florence Project with the Emil Gumpert Award in 2012. Using funds from the award, staff recently finished a complete revamp of the pro se packet series. Today, 25 new and updated guides for immigrants facing the deportation system alone are available on the Florence Project website and for distribution to detention center law libraries in Arizona and around the country.

“Because there is no right to counsel at government expense in removal proceedings and many immigrants are unable to afford an attorney, over 86% of immigrants in detention represent themselves in complicated legal proceedings,” said Florence Project Executive Director Lauren Dasse.  “While the Florence Project and other legal services non-profit organizations are able to provide limited assistance to this population, many depend on alternative resources to access legal information. The Florence Project’s pro se packets are a key tool for many unrepresented individuals caught up in the deportation system. We hope that the updated versions will be helpful to those who need them most.”

As part of this massive project, the Florence Project contracted with Kathy Budway, an ESL instructor and adult education specialist at Pima Community College, for feedback to make the guides as accessible as possible. Current and former Florence Project staff attorneys reviewed the materials for accuracy and consistency. Lastly, Jaime Fatas, Director of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Arizona, and several of his students completed professional translations of all 25 guides to Spanish.

Users can download the updated materials at http://www.firrp.org/resources/prose/, or contact the Florence Project at firrp@firrp.org for information on how to receive a CD or printed versions of the guides for distribution to law libraries in detention centers and elsewhere.