ATTORNEY OF THE DAY PROGRAM
SFILDC is a proud supporter of the Attorney of the Day (AOD) program at the San Francisco Immigration Court. Through the AOD Program, experienced immigration attorneys from SFILDC, nonprofits, and private firms volunteer at the Court to aid unrepresented immigrants during their initial court hearings. The attorneys conduct individual consultations with the immigrants where they provide legal advice and referrals, help the immigrants to navigate courtroom procedures, and advocate on their behalf before the Immigration Judge. AODs and the JDC also refer unrepresented immigrants to local nonprofits for full-scope removal defense representation whenever possible. For detained individuals, they also send them informational pro se packets after their hearing. From July 2014 through August 2018, the AOD program provided assistance to over 8,800 unrepresented individuals at the San Francisco Immigration Court.
SFILDC focuses its participation in the AOD program on providing attorneys to volunteer on the juvenile (children’s) dockets. Despite the vulnerability of a child in deportation proceedings, the law does not require that children be provided with counsel in court. Thus, the SFILDC focuses on these dockets to ensure that no child appears alone before the judges and prosecutors.
SFILDC funding has also supported the creation of valuable new materials for unrepresented immigrants and volunteer attorneys at the Court to help them understand their rights, the nature of the proceedings, how to find counsel, and other aspects of their cases. These materials have also been shared with SFILDC’s community partners, such as Mission Neighborhood Health Center’s Behavioral Health Department, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Victim Services Unit, and the San Francisco Unified School District’s RISE Refugee and Asylee program. SFILDC, through the AOD program, has also partnered with the Stanford Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic to create a guide directing unrepresented respondents on how to advocate for the removal of their ankle shackles (ISAP program). These guides are available for all immigrants at the Immigration Court and for the public in general at the AOD program website.