Volunteer

Apply to Volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering with CAIR Coalition, please fill out our Volunteer Application. We require that all new volunteers must attend a volunteer training session before volunteering on a jail visit. Our volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you to schedule a training session.

Once you fill out our application, you are added to our email list to receive notice of volunteer opportunities and training dates.

  • For questions regarding jail visit, translation/interpretation, or detention hotline volunteer opportunities, please email volunteer@caircoalition.org.
  • For questions regarding medical and mental health volunteer opportunities, please email Michael Lukens at michael@caircoalition.org.

Volunteer Opportunities

Once you fill out our application, you are added to our email list to receive notice of volunteer opportunities and training dates. Opportunities Include:

  • Detention Line

CAIR Coalition is in need of volunteers to help answer our detention line. The detention line is for detained noncitizens and their family members who can call us for free. Detention line volunteers help with initial intakes, provide additional information to the detainee and/or their family member about the detention and removal process, as well as connect detainees to their attorneys. Detention line volunteers may also assist with preparations for our weekly jail visits, research criminal records and help with case follow-up and translations. Training is required.

CAIR Coalition is particularly looking for volunteers who speak Spanish, French or Arabic. Volunteers can sign up for one or more two hour shift a week, or as their schedule permits, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ideally, we are looking for volunteers who could do more than one shift a week.

  • Jail Visits

CAIR Coalition conducts regular visits to jails in Virginia and Maryland  in order to provide immigrant detainees information about immigration detention, their legal rights, options for fighting deportation, immigration court, and general information about the deportation process. We always seek dedicated volunteers to join us on our visits. Volunteers assist us with intakes, interpreting, and distributing information to the detainees. 

We welcome all volunteers, regardless of legal background. No knowledge of the law is required. The volunteers’ primary tasks are gathering information from the detainees, which the CAIR Coalition legal team uses to evaluate cases for pro bono placement, and distributing materials with general legal information.

While we welcome all volunteers, we do give preference to Spanish-speakers or speakers of other needed languages in cases of over-enrollment. We have a particular need for Spanish-speakers since the majority of the immigrants detainees are from Central America or Mexico and we seek to serve them as effectively as possible. We also seek volunteers who speak other languages such as French, Amharic, Tigrinya, Somali, Arabic, Russian, Farsi, or Mandarin.

  • Translating/Interpreting

CAIR Coalition is routinely in need of volunteers willing to translate documents from a foreign language to English and /or interpret for staff and pro bono attorneys. CAIR Coalition staff often assist detained immigrants in learning how to represent themselves. The immigrants we help are very resourceful and often obtain evidence or draft affidavits to support their cases. By recruiting volunteers willing to translate documents we can ensure we detained immigrants can submit important evidence and statements to support their cases. 

CAIR Coalition also needs volunteer interpreters to assist staff or pro bono attorneys communicate with detained immigrants who speak little or no English. Interpreter opportunities can range from a one-time meeting with an immigrant to conduct an intake in his native language, get a complete asylum story, or can involve steady meetings to assist an attorney communicate with a detained immigrant from the start to to the conclusion of the pro bono case. 

  • No training or certification is required. 
  • All languages are needed and welcomed.
  • Strong fluency in a foreign language is preferred. 
  • Medical & Mental Health

Asylum seekers and detained refugees often need medical evaluations for their immigration cases. Arriving asylum seekers, including many torture survivors, often need mental health and physical evaluations as evidence for the immigration judge of their past persecution.

Unadjusted refugees who need to apply for a special waiver in order to avoid deportation need a medical evaluation performed by a designated civil surgeon and to be up to date on their vaccines in order to complete the application for the waiver.

Unfortunately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not cooperate in releasing individuals from detention for evaluations, which means that if the individual does not have the resources to pay a physician to come to the detention center, we need to rely on volunteer medical professionals who are willing to take the time to visit a detention center on a pro bono basis.

Your commitment could help prevent an asylum seeker or refugee from being deported back to a country where they may face persecution or death.

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