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Phoenix Legal Action Network

Airdate: April 6, 2017
Learn about Phoenix Legal Action Network (PLAN) and its focus on providing direct legal services to immigrants in the Phoenix area.

Guests:
  • Sambo Dul - Co-founder and Director of PLAN
Category: Immigration



View Transcript
JOSE: PHOENIX LEGAL ACTION NETWORK ALSO KNOWN AS "PLAN" IS DEDICATED TO INCREASING LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR IMMIGRANTS AND OTHER COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS SAMBO DUL, ATTORNEY, DIRECTOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE PHOENIX LEGAL ACTION NETWORK. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE." PART OF YOUR INTEREST IN THIS AREA STEMS FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE AS A REFUGE. CAN YOU GIVE A THUMB NAIL DESCRIPTION OF YOUR EXPERIENCE COMING FROM CAMBODIA.

SAMBO DUL: YEAH, THANK YOU WERE HAVING ME. MY FAMILY CAME WHEN I WAS ONE AND WENT INTO A REFUGE CAMP ON THE BORDER WHERE WE LIVED FOR FOUR YEARS BEFORE BEING APPROVED.

JOSE: YOU LOST YOUR FATHER BEFORE YOU REACHED THE CAMP?

SAMBO DUL: WE DID. MY FATHER WAS KILLED RIGHT BEFORE WE GOT IN SO MY MOTHER WAS LEFT TO CARE FOR FOUR CHILDREN, COME TO THE U.S. TRYING TO REBUILD A LIFE HERE NOT SPEAKING ENGLISH AND NOT UNDERSTANDING INSTITUTIONS WITH FOUR KIDS. IT IS AWE-INSPIRING TO ME AND STILL INSPIRES ME TODAY. I WAS FIVE WHEN WE LANDED AT SKY HARBOR AIRPORT AND MY FAMILY HAS BEEN HERE SINCE THE 1980s. I HAVE GROWN UP HERE, WENT TO ASU FOR COLLEGE, AND MOVED BACK TO ARIZONA FOR THREE YEARS AGO.

JOSE: YOU WENT TO LAW SCHOOL?

SAMBO DUL: I WENT TO LAW SCHOOL AT NYU.

JOSE: AND SINCE THEN YOU JOINED A PRETESIGIOUS FIRM AND YOU ARE A CORPORATE LAWYER. TELL US MORE.

SAMBO DUL: I MAINTAIN A PRO-BONO PRACTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGE. I AM FORTUNATE TO WORK AT A PLACE THAT SUPPORTS AND CHAMPIONS BE BEING ENGAGED IN THE ISSUES THAT I HAVE. I HAVE DONE A LOT OF PRO-BONO REPRESENTATION ON PEOPLE FLEEING VIOLENCE FROM CENTRAL AMERICA AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD WHO ARE IN THE UNITED STATES SEEKING ASYLUM. I HAVE WORKED WITH UNACCOMPANIED IMMIGRANT YOUTH HELD IN FEDERAL FACILITIES IN PHOENIX HELPING PROVIDE KNOW YOUR RIGHT ORIENTATIONS AND DOING INDIVIDUAL LEGAL SCREENINGS SO WE CAN SEE IF THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR ANY FORMS OF RELIEF FROM DEPORTATION. I RECENTLY SPENT TIME AT A FAMILY DETENTION CENTER IN TEXAS WORKING WITH PEOPLE FLEEING VIOLENCE FROM GUATEMALA. TEAMS WOULD GO AND HELP MOTHERS AND CHILDREN TO PREPARE FOR THEIR CREDIBLE INTERVIEWS WHICH IS THE FIRST STEP IN THE ASYLUM PROCESS.

JOSE: AND HERE PART OF WHAT LAWYERS ARE DOING IS EDUCATIONAL. WE HAVE A COUPLE PICTURES WE WANT TO PUT ON THE SCREEN OF SOME OF THE SESSIONS THAT HAVE BEEN HELD. THERE IS LARRY WHO HAS BEEN A GUEST ON OUR SHOW IN THE PAST. AND WE HAVE ANOTHER PICTURE OF HIM OR THE CROWD THAT HE WAS ADDRESSING THERE. TELL US WHAT WAS GOING ON HERE AT THIS EDUCATION SYSTEM.

SAMBO DUL: THIS IS THE PHOTO OF LARRY IS FROM OUR DACA CONSULTATION. LARRY WAS GIVING A COE TO ATTORNEYS WHO WOULD VOLUNTEER AT CLINICS WE HAD WORKED TO SETUP FOR UNDOCUMENTED AND DOCUMENTED INDIVIDUALS TO COME AND GET SCREENED BY AN ATTORNEY SO WE CAN SEE IF THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR OTHER FORMS OF RELIEF FROM DEPORTATION. FOR EXAMPLE, A FAMILY VISA OR ASYLUM, WE WOULD HELP THEM PURSUE THOSE ROUTES TO LEGALIZATION SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO RELY JUST ON DACA BECAUSE AS WE KNOW THE FUTURE OF THAT PROGRAM IS UNCERTAIN. LARRY WAS TRAINING VOLUNTEER LAWYERS WHO WOULD STAFF THE EVENT.

JOSE: PART OF THE MOTIVATION WITH SOME OF THE THINGS YOU ARE DOING IS REACTION TO THE SO-CALLED TRAVEL BAN. WE HAVE A FEW PICTURES OF THE CROWD AT THE AIRPORT THAT SEEM TO BE PRETTY UNHAPPY WITH WHAT WAS GOING ON THERE. ALSO IN THE NEXT COUPLE PICTURES LAWYERS, ORGANIZATIONS, SHOWING UP OFFERING LEGAL SERVICES. WE HAVE PICTURES OF THE ACLU LAWYERS AND THEY LOOK MUCH HAPPIER THAN THE PEOPLE IN THE CROWD AND ALSO FROM THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, A PICTURE OF THEM AS WELL. I THINK IN THE DISCUSSION OF PLAN IT SAYS THAT YOU STARTED WORKING ON IT WHEN THE ELECTION RESULTS CAME IN.

SAMBO DUL: THAT IS RIGHT.

JOSE: WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO SPECIFICALLY?

SAMBO DUL: WE ARE TRYING TO PLAN, THE OVERARCHING GOAL IS TO CREATE A SPACE WHERE ATTORNEYS IN PHOENIX WHO ARE INTERESTED IN SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INTERESTED IN USING THEIR LEGAL EXPERTISE TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY CAN COME TOGETHER AND THINK PROACTIVELY AND INNVOTAVIELY AND BE AMBITIOUS ABOUT WHAT THE LEGAL SERVICES ARE IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND WHAT THE LEGAL COMMUNITY CAN DO ABOUT THAT AND WHAT WE SHOULD DO ABOUT THAT. OUR GOALS ARE TWO FOLD. BOTH TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE WORKING ON THE GROUND, GRASSROOTS, IN THE TRENCHES AND WHAT THEIR PRIORITIES, GOALS AND INITIATIVES ARE AND HOW LEGAL SUPPORT MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP THE WORK THEY ARE DOING ON THE GROUND AND THEN MAKE IT EASIER FOR ATTORNEYS TO CONNECT WITH THOSE ORGANIZATIONS AND PROVIDE THEIR SERVICES IN ANY WAY THAT MAY BE USEFUL. SO WE SEE THE MISSION AS TWO FOLD LIKE THE TRAINING OF THE ATTORNEYS THAT MAY NOT OTHERWISE HAVE IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE BUT WANT TO GET INVOLVED BECAUSE THE NEED IN THE IMMIGRATION AREA IS SO LARGE. WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE TRAINING AND ENCOURAGE THE SHARING OF INFORMATION AND LEARNING SO ATTORNEYS CAN BE EQUIPPED TO RESPOND WHERE THE MOST HELP IS NEEDED AND WE WANT TO CONNECT TO COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND ORGANIZATIONS AND UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS AND THINK ABOUT HOW WE CAN USE ATTORNEYS TO SUPPORT CREATIVE WORK GOING ON AT THE GRASSROOTS.

JOSE: WE KNOW YOUR FIRM HAS COMMITTED $150,000 TO THIS EFFORT. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED TO GET IT GOING AND OFF THE GROUND?

SAMBO DUL: OUR CURRENT GOAL FOR THE JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS AND FAMILIES PROJECT, WHICH IS TO IMPROVE LEGAL SERVICES FOR IMMIGRANT FAMILIES IN PHOENIX WHO ARE FACING DEPORTATION, OUR BUDGET IS AROUND $500,000. THE COMMITMENT GETS US ABOUT A THIRD OF THE WAY FOR WHAT WE NEED TO HIRE STAFF ATTORNEYS AND PARTNER WITH ORGANIZATIONS TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF LEGAL SERVICES THAT ARE AVAILABLE IN PHOENIX OR FOR IMMIGRANTS WHO CAN NOT AFFORD TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY BUT ARE AT RISK OF DEPORTATION.

JOSE: THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT PROJECT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE" TO TALK ABOUT IT.

SAMBO DUL: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.