Baker Legal Assistance Program

The Baker Legal Assistance Program seeks to address the mistreatment of immigrants at Baker while also providing access to counsel for their immigration cases. The program will also provide guidance, resources, and counsel for those detained at Baker to ensure more individuals succeed in their immigration cases and are released from the inhumane detention facility. 

A first-of-its-kind project, the Baker Legal Assistance Program brings together students and attorneys from the Florida State University Farmworker & Immigration Rights Clinic, the University of Florida Immigration Clinic and the University of Miami School of Law Immigration Clinic, along with the ACLU of Florida and pro-bono attorneys in Northern Florida.

About the Baker County Detention Center

For years, immigrants at the Baker County Detention Center have experienced inhumane conditions and a range of abuses, including excessive use of force, extreme medical neglect, racist harassment, retaliation, barriers to legal counsel, and lack of adequate hygiene, food and more. 

Since 2020, over 85 complaints have been filed about Baker with intimidation and harassment, access to counsel and medical neglect being the top abuses detailed, according to the Florida Detention Database. 

Access to Legal Assistance

Legal representation often makes the difference between whether a person is allowed to remain safely in the United States with their family or is unlawfully and inhumanely deported to harm, permanently separated from their community and loved ones.

Immigrants who are detained with legal representation are almost seven times more likely to obtain a bond, and ten-and-a-half times more likely to succeed in their immigration cases. In Florida alone, less than half of the people facing deportation cases have legal representation. 

The Baker Legal Assistance Program seeks to close the gap in the number of people at Baker County Detention Center without access to legal counsel. 

Contact

For individuals who need to report a complaint regarding their conditions of confinement, please contact the ACLU of Florida through the Florida Detention Database at 786-363-3095 or detentioncomplaints@aclufl.org. Individuals can also contact the Florida Detention Database to schedule an initial consultation regarding an immigration case. 

The Program is also in need of additional pro bono attorneys. If you are interested in participating in the Program, please contact Katie Blankenship, deputy legal director with the ACLU of Florida, at kblankenship@aclufl.org.