With the continued growth of PB & J over these past months, The Project, with its ability to recruit from its large volunteer panel and to manage a program of this size, has formally taken over the administration of the PB & J from Kathleen.
As you may recall, Kathleen and several others working in this area conducted a CLE last September to look at the issues around Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases and provide training in handling these cases. As a result, PB & J trained more than 100 attorneys in family and immigration law and placed over 60 cases with volunteers.
Most recently, Tulane University's Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies has come forward to assist with interpretation and overall support in helping us expand capacity for this developing program.
We are also grateful to Mira Kohl (r), co-president of Tulane's Latin American Graduate Organization (LAGO), for their generous donation to support this cooperative effort.
In a recent email from Kathleen to the Tulane organizations, she noted that this kind of volunteer spirit is what moves projects like PB & J forward.
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate all that your group has done in getting the word out and in generating volunteers to interpret and assist with cases. ... There is so much changing with immigration at the national, state, and local level that it is hard to keep up."
And, it is volunteers that will enable The Project and the many local and national organizations to keep up with the massive number of SIJS clients.
Back in September, there were more than 1,000 unaccompanied children eligible for SIJS status in Louisiana, with 80% in the New Orleans metro area. Current estimates show that this number has grown to over 1700, with the majority still in the metro area.
"All of us who are involved are working together to coordinate resources to continue the good work that we've begun. We will also start fundraising to increase capacity. As well, Kathleen and I are already preparing another training in late May," said The Project's Chief Legal Officer, Linton Carney.
Right now, The Project is in need of both volunteers and donations to continue addressing this critical need in our community. Please watch our Events Calendar for a May CLE training.
To volunteer, please email Linton Carney or call him at 504.581.4043. x 207.
To make a donation, please visit JUST GIVE - you may specify PB & J on your donation form.