Bryan Caplan  

Immigration Charity at Work

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I'm still looking for cost-effective ways to promote freer immigration.  But one EconLog reader, who prefers to be known solely as "Isaac," is forging ahead with the best tools he's got.  Reprinted with Isaac's permission...

Bryan:

Based entirely on following your blog and watching videos of your debates, I became an open borders supporter and keenly concerned with the plight of third-worlders being forcibly prevented from moving to the first world. 

As a Chicago-based attorney and law firm owner, I realized that I could help by taking an asylum case pro bono. I received training and support from the NIJC, and represented a woman from Eritrea that was detained since last winter in a county detention center in Southern Illinois. She was tortured and imprisoned for reporting her superior officer for groping her and preventing her from seeing her family, and this was after being forced to serve in the national service for 7 years (i.e. indefinite forced labor). I'm so glad she was able to escape.

I'm overjoyed to report that I very recently convinced an immigration judge to grant her asylum. She was released immediately and, as we speak, is journeying to Austin, Texas with the help of a refugee not-for-profit.

I seriously doubt I would have had the energy or inclination to take on such a case, pro bono, without coming in contact with your writings and philosophy. Thanks for unwittingly convincing me to do so!

Best,
Isaac




COMMENTS (6 to date)
David R. Henderson writes:

Excellent, Bryan and especially excellent, Isaac.

Rex Salisbury writes:

Isaac, how much would such a case have cost if it were not pro bono? I'm wondering if it would be cost effective to sponsor multiple such asylum cases. Also, how many such individuals might exist that would be suited for such representation and it is feasible to get in contact with them.

Brad writes:

Congrats Bryan. If we could all have similar achievements.

Ari writes:

This was good.

Edward writes:

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Isaac writes:

Thanks so much, guys. And especially Bryan for putting this out there.

The NIJC takes litigation-experienced lawyers and helps assign and supervise their asylum case. It takes about 80 hours for the pro bono lawyer to complete. NIJC somehow manages to retain THOUSANDS of clients per year with a fairly small staff of attorneys (though many clients need far less than asylum representation).

The pro bono law firm has to pay all expenses. The main expense is usually hiring a translator, which might cost $2-5K. An extremely generous forensic MD donated her time to provide a report to the court--I don't know whether this is typically available.

So at a cost of a few thousand dollars and many dozen hours, I suppose it's not inexpensive. It's typically used by big firms to provide trial experience to their new attorneys.

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