How to find legal counsel for detained immigrants?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column, I answer a question from a reader seeking legal help for his wife and children in immigration detention.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

My wife and children are detained in Texas and she is going to have a credible fear interview. How can I get legal advice? -Joseeller O.

Joseeller, it is of utmost importance that your wife and children have good representation from a licensed and experienced immigration attorney. The attorney will help them determine their legal options and apply for immigration benefits if they are eligible.

The U.S. Government is not responsible for providing a defense attorney to persons detained for violating immigration law. The immigrant is responsible for hiring an immigration attorney or defending himself or herself, which I do not recommend.

Ideally, you should hire an immigration attorney who works in or near the city in the United States where your spouse and children will be living if they are allowed to leave immigration detention.

The attorney will be able to help your family prepare for the credible fear interview, request their release if they are eligible, request transfer of the case to the immigration court near your home, and represent them at future immigration hearings.

You can find an immigration lawyer at American Immigration Lawyers Association web site (AILA).

If your family is low-income, they may be able to apply for assistance from nonprofit organizations that have immigration attorneys or accredited representatives by the U.S. Department of Justice to assist them.

Be sure to verify the credentials and experience of the person you hire to represent your family.