Mintz has been named a recipient of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA)’s 2020 Beacon of Justice Award, which recognizes law firms with pro bono programs serving vulnerable individuals fleeing to the U.S. border. Mintz will be honored at NLADA’s annual Exemplar Dinner, to be held virtually on September 16.
“We are honored to be recognized with this year’s Beacon of Justice Award from the NLADA,” said Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee Susan Finegan. “The firm has a longstanding commitment to representing asylum seekers and safeguarding their legal rights, and this work is even more critical today as migrants continue to face family separation, detention, and other grave challenges along the U.S. southern border.”
Over the past year, Mintz has continued its leadership in strategic litigation for immigration and has worked on over 65 immigration-related asylum, special immigration juvenile, and other immigration cases, with assistance from a number of partner legal services organizations. Attorneys at the firm also worked closely with the advocates at family detention facilities in Texas and Pennsylvania on a variety of legal issues faced by their clients. In addition, attorneys and staff assisted legal permanent residents in their applications for U.S. citizenship, and separately, worked with victims of crime seeking immigration relief.
Notably, in November 2019, Mintz achieved a groundbreaking victory for immigrants’ rights when Chief U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris ruled that the government’s practice of detaining certain immigrants by default violated both due process and the Administrative Procedure Act. The first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit, Pereira Brito v. Barr, was filed in June 2019 by Mintz, together with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts and the ACLU of New Hampshire, on behalf of immigrants who were jailed due to flawed detention hearings in which the detainee was required to bear the burden of proof as to not being a flight risk or a danger to the community. The class action victory had an immediate impact in Boston Immigration Court, leading to the release of many detainees who were unjustly jailed.
The above-mentioned efforts are just highlights of Mintz’s broad-ranging immigration- and asylum-related pro bono work. The firm is deeply devoted to finding enduring legal solutions and relief for these individuals, and continues this work year after year.
NLADA is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA provides advocacy, guidance, information, training and technical assistance for members of the equal justice community, especially those working in public defense and civil legal aid.
To learn more about Mintz’s pro bono program, please click here.