CILA is an expert legal resource center created by the American Bar Association. CILA builds capacity for those working to advance the rights of children seeking protection through trainings, technical assistance, and collaboration. CILA serves both legal service providers, pro bono attorneys, and social service providers who are working with children in immigration proceedings. CILA is excited to share that it is expanding more services nationally.
CILA will now offer technical assistance to the Vera network of legal service providers nationally. CILA has provided technical assistance to providers in Texas since the inception of the organization in 2015. CILA is excited to expand this service to other attorneys and legal staff around the country. Advocates can submit questions using a form on CILA’s website found here. Questions can cover topics such as general immigration law questions, procedural and evidentiary issues, theory of the case and legal strategy, and best practices working with children and victims of trauma. CILA particularly hopes to support the network by providing answers to questions related to federal aspects of SIJS and trauma-informed practices, as well as to support pro bono mentorship. Keep in mind for questions relating to the state court portion of SIJS, CILA can provide guidance on state law questions for Texas but not other jurisdictions.
For over a year now, practitioners in Texas have been able to submit technical assistance requests to CILA that involve issues of federal litigation, and CILA connects practitioners with the experts at the National Immigration Litigation Alliance (NILA) to assist in responding to the request. This service is now also available to Vera legal service providers nationally.
CILA hosts six working groups on different topics–Houston SIJS, SIJS, children’s asylum law, detained unaccompanied children, social services, and pro bono coordination. CILA’s pro bono coordination working group reaches a national audience, and up to this point all other working groups have had a Texas focus. Now, CILA is expanding three more working groups nationally—SIJS, children’s asylum law, and detained unaccompanied children. All of CILA’s working groups meet quarterly via Zoom. CILA is excited to expand the opportunity for community and discussion nationwide.
CILA also hosts four listservs—Houston SIJS, Texas children’s immigration, social services, and pro bono coordination. We will continue to promote joining working group meetings and encourage information-sharing on those forums. To learn more about CILA’s working groups and listservs, visit CILA’s website.
Additionally, CILA is expanding three of our signature trainings, Boot Camp, Champions for Immigrant Youth Symposium, and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) training, to participants from the Vera network of legal service providers nationally. CILA hosts Boot Camp trainings for attorneys, legal staff, and social services staff who are working with detained youth and who are new to the field. CILA has historically hosted the trainings two times a year for legal service provider staff in Texas. Now, CILA plans to expand the number of Boot Camp trainings offered and provide the trainings to providers nationally. CILA is honored to host a NITA training annually for newer attorneys and Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives to experience a learn-by-doing training for trial advocacy skills. CILA’s NITA training will now also be available to participants from the Vera network of legal service providers nationally.