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Wiley Rein Joins CAIR Coalition’s Pilot ‘Crim-Imm’ Pro Bono Project

March 8, 2016

Washington, DC — Wiley Rein LLP is pleased to announce its participation in an initiative launched by CAIR (Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights) Coalition that seeks to defend detained non-citizens from the disproportionate consequences of criminal convictions, and to expand strategic litigation on their behalf. As one of only three law firms in this year’s pilot program, Wiley Rein—together with CAIR Coalition and other law firm team members—will intervene in the criminal-immigration (crim-imm) pipeline by expanding access to counsel trained in the intersection of criminal and immigration law.

The program, entitled The Crim-Imm Pro Bono Project, is made possible by sponsorship from the Arnold & Porter Foundation and through the support of an Equal Justice Works fellowship to develop the project.

“Wiley Rein has a well-established relationship with CAIR Coalition, and the new Crim-Imm Pro Bono Project gives us the opportunity to increase our support of both CAIR Coalition and the immigrant community,” said Nick Peterson, of counsel in Wiley Rein’s White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Practice and the firm’s program liaison. “The Crim-Imm Pro Bono Project is tackling cutting-edge issues in criminal and immigration law, and we are excited to be a part of this initiative.”

Non-citizens—many of whom are longtime, legal permanent resident green-card holders—are increasingly detained and deported because of criminal convictions. In the Washington, DC area alone, approximately half of the detained immigrants served by CAIR Coalition face the joint punishments of detention and deportation due to involvement in the criminal justice system, even though they have completed their criminal sentence in most instances. Because there is no right to government-appointed counsel in immigration court, the vast majority of detained immigrants are unrepresented—so they rarely are able to make the complex criminal-immigration legal arguments needed to challenge the basis of their deportation.

In this pilot phase of the project’s formal launch, the participating law firms will take on specific cases involving the defense of detained immigrants with criminal convictions, and pro bono attorneys will make strategic, criminal-immigration arguments on their behalf.

Wiley Rein prides itself on a strong and rich tradition of service to the local and global community, and encourages its lawyers to participate in pro bono activities. In 2015, Wiley Rein was named to Washington Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy list for its contributions to more than 450 charitable organizations nationally.