The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)/HNBA VIA (“Vision in Action”) Fund Immigrant Legal Defense Fund provides grants for low-cost legal representation to assist in the defense of select immigration cases. We expect a significant number of grant applications and encourage all HNBA members and supporters, as well as the general public, to consider donating to this important fund. Every single donation will make a difference! The HNBA is confident that by working together with our members, partners and friends, we can make a substantial difference in the lives of immigrants across the country.

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Thank you to our donors for making these grants possible!


The HNBA/VIA Immigrant Legal Defense Fund has been established to help defray the costs of legal representation provided by attorneys. Grant applications must be submitted by the attorney providing pro bono or “low bono” (low cost) legal services.

Case Types: Given the current priorities established by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the following cases are eligible for grants:

  1. Detained bond hearings;
  2. Children who have been identified as “unaccompanied” by the Department of Homeland Security (SJIS cases);
  3. Asylum or withholding of removal cases; or
  4. Cancellation of removal for non-permanent residents under INA §240A(b); and

Eligibility: There must be a written Retainer Agreement and the Retainer Agreement must explicitly state that:

  1. Representation is being provided “pro bono;” or
  2. The attorney’s hourly rate does not exceed $100/hour.

The grant must be applied to the cost for representation in an immigration case.

Grant Amount: $500 per case. Depending on availability of funds, the grant amount may change.

How to Participate: The attorney must complete a Grant Application here, upload a copy of the Retainer Agreement, and the following applicable documents:

  1. Case Status Summary from Office of Refugee Resettlement;
  2. “Notice of Referral” page issued by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services showing that the Respondent’s I-589 has been referred to EOIR;
  3. Copy of Respondent’s next Hearing Notice
  4. Copy of Respondent’s Notice to Appear

*The application will be reviewed by the HNBA/VIA Immigrant Legal Defense Task Force and a decision will be rendered in 7-10 business days. In the process of reviewing the application, questions may arise that might require further inquiry by the Task Force beyond the information contained in the application. If a grant is awarded, the check will be sent directly to the attorney for the benefit of the immigrant.


As a national organization largely comprised of licensed attorneys, the HNBA is uniquely positioned to educate the community about the various Executive Orders issued by the Trump Administration. The HNBA Amicus Brief Committee has analyzed the Executive Orders related to immigration to provide the following report:

Analysis of “Travel Ban”

Executive Order: Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States

Analysis of “Secure Communities”

Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

We expect our analysis to continue and encourage HNBA members to consider joining and assisting our Amicus Brief Committee. For further inquiries, please contact Amicus Brief Committee Chair Peter Karanjia.


The HNBA Immigrant Legal Defense Task Force is focused on ensuring HNBA members and other attorneys receive adequate training to assist the immigrant community. Accordingly, we encourage all to take advantage of Practicing Law Institute’s complimentary and extensive programming in this area. PLI’s On-Demand programs are available to HNBA members immediately and cover topics such as Representing Unaccompanied Children and Defending Immigration Removal.


  1. Basic Immigration Law
  2. Defending Immigration Removal Proceedings
  3. Representing Children in Immigration Matter
  4. The Art & Science of Interviewing Pro Bono Clients

On a regular basis, PLI also provides live webcasts.  Special thanks to the Practicing Law Institute for granting complimentary access to their training courses. In addition, the HNBA encourages attorneys and community organizations to share resources distributed by the American Civil Liberties Union in case immigrants are confronted by Immigration Custom Enforcement agents. The information is available in Spanish and English, and is also available at


The HNBA Immigration Law Section has compiled a directory of community organizations and law firms that provide pro bono immigration services. The directory is available here.

Tamara Caban-Ramirez
Special Committee on Immigrant Legal Defense Co-Chair
Caban-Ramirez Law Firm
Edina, MN

Paulina Vera
Special Committee on Immigrant Legal Defense Co-Chair
Legal Associate, GW Law Immigration Clinic