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Keep Families Together

Launched in September 2018 in response to the U.S. government’s “Zero Tolerance” policy and following and international co-counseling model, the Vance Center’s Keep Families Together (KFT) initiative connects foreign pro bono counsel to U.S. pro bono immigration counsel representing children, families, and asylum seekers.

As of 2021, the Vance Center collaborates with 100 U.S. and foreign corporate law firms, pro bono clearinghouses, non-profit organizations, bar associations and university legal clinics to support the legal representation of over 170 of separated children and families, leading to many reunifications and permanent forms of immigration relief in the U.S.

Thanks to its clearinghouse partners in the Pro Bono Network of the Americas and beyond, Keep Families Together operates in partnership with lawyers in 20 countries around the globe: Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nepal & Nicaragua.

OUR SERVICES

Through KFT, foreign pro bono lawyers obtain vital evidence from to support children & families’ home countries, including (but not limited to):

  • Birth certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Criminal Records
  • Medical & Hospital Records
  • Exit documentation (passports)

Foreign pro bono lawyers also:

  • Draft witness statements, affidavits, and Power of Attorney (POA) documents
  • Amend birth certificates and identity documents before relevant courts and civil registries
  • Perform process of service to parents or family abroad
  • Obtain expert testimony on foreign and transnational family and law issues
  • Represent children and families in domestic family law issues (adoption, guardianship, custody, etc.)

OUR U.S PRO BONO IMMIGRATION COUNCIL PARTNERS

Keep Families Together accepts pro bono referrals from corporate law firms, non-profit organizations, professional associations & university legal clinics. It has accepted referrals from 55 such entities in the United States. Current partners include:

Corporate Law Firms

Baker McKenzie
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
Davis Polk Wardwell LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Dentons
Eversheds Sutherland LLP
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP
Fried, Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobsen LLP
Herrick Feinstein LLP
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Greenberg Traurig 
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Radler, Parks, White & Alexander LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
White & Steele, P.C.
Williams & Connolly LLP

Non-Profit Organization, Professional Associations & University Legal Clinics

American Bar Association-Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA)
American Bar Association- South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR)
Bronx Defenders
Catholic Charities Community Services
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia
CUNY School of Law- Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic
Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services
Her Justice
Hofstra University School of Law- Deportation Defense Clinic
Human Rights First
Immigration Justice Campaign
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Legal Aid Society of New York
Legal Aid Society of North Carolina
Legal Services NYC
Lutheran Social Services of New York
New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
New York City Anti-Violence Project
PAIR Project
Pangea Legal Services
Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
Safe Passage Project
Sanctuary for Families
Seton Hall University School of Law- Center for Social Justice
Take Root Justice
Texas Civil Rights Project
The Door
University of Tulsa College of Law- Immigrant Rights Project
Urban Justice Center
Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

Please contact Director of Pro Bono Partnerships, Jorge Escobedo at jescobedo@nycbar.org for more information.

UPDATES

With support from the Tinker Foundation , the Vance Center convened 45 immigration & family separation experts from across the United States and Latin America in a workshop at the New York City Bar Association in June 2019. With immigration provider organizations, law firm pro bono counsel, and clearinghouse partners in the Pro Bono Network of the Americas in attendance, we identified new ways to further the Keep Families Together initiative and are in the process of implementing this expansion.

See What's New
September 2021

Keep Families Together Launches Special Network in Mexico & Task Force for Afghan Refugees

Link here
March 2021

Vance Center’s Keep Families Together Honors International Partners

Link here