Providing assistance to individuals seeking asylum in Maine has been a key part of ILAP’s identity since our inception in 1993 as a volunteer lawyers’ project. Today, we provide comprehensive legal services to asylum seekers to help them find safety from persecution, attain work authorization and contribute to the state’s cultural vibrancy and economic vitality. Mirroring national trends, over the last decade the number of asylum seekers in Maine has grown significantly, from a couple of dozen individuals per year to more than 4,000 at most recent estimates. To respond to this growth, ILAP has expanded and diversified our services to represent more individuals and to provide robust support to those that we lack the capacity to represent.
and Pro Bono Asylum Panel
ILAP provides full representation to individuals seeking asylum by placing their case with a lawyer from our Pro Bono Asylum Panel. These volunteer attorneys help clients complete and submit their application for asylum, prepare for their interview with an Asylum Officer and, when necessary, present their case in a hearing before an Immigration Judge. Because we lack the capacity to represent every asylum seeker in need of an attorney, individuals seeking asylum must go through an intake and screening process before their case can be placed.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
ILAP maintains a free step-by-step guide for individuals without lawyers called “How to Apply for Asylum in the United States.” This pro se manual is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. A complementary video series covers the different aspects of the asylum application process and is available in English and French. Additionally, we host informational workshops in collaboration with the Refugee & Human Rights Clinic at the University of Maine School of Law and other partners. More information is also available on our Asylum Self-Help page.