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Since April of 2000, the Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP, formerly known as the Legal Orientation and Pro Bono Program) has worked to improve access to legal information and counseling and increase the level of representation for immigrants appearing before the Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). This has been carried out primarily through initiatives which facilitate access to information and help create new incentives for attorneys, non-profit organizations and their representatives, and law students to accept pro bono cases. Moreover, some OLAP programs provide direct legal representation to certain vulnerable populations. OLAP programs and initiatives include the:
OLAP administered programs do not generally provide pro bono legal representation to individuals in immigration proceedings. Through the legal orientation programs, OLAP administers programs to help detained adults (LOP) or the adult caregivers of children (LOPC) in immigration proceedings learn about the immigration court process. Where available, these programs also facilitate access to pro bono representation.
However, OLAP administers two programs that fund direct legal representation for specific vulnerable populations. Since 2014 the Baltimore Representation Initiative for Unaccompanied Children (BRIUC) began providing legal representation and other related services to certain unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings before the Baltimore Immigration Court.
Additionally, OLAP oversees the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), a nationwide program to provide Qualified Representatives to certain unrepresented respondents detained by the DHS who are found by an Immigration Judge or the BIA to be mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.
To assist detained individuals obtain timely pro bono representation in appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), OLAP administers the BIA Pro Bono Project.
To assist in the recruitment and training of pro bono representatives for individuals in immigration proceedings, the Model Hearing Program offers court-facilitated mock trial sessions with hands-on training in immigration court.
In addition to these programs and initiatives, OLAP also provides access to self-help materials which can assist all individuals in removal proceedings to learn about the immigration court process and the forms of relief from removal. To learn more about each of these programs and initiatives, please click on the above links.
For more information on OLAP’s programs and initiatives, please send an email to: