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No sleep 'til...: A weekend at a pop-up airport legal clinic




Protesters hold signs outside Terminal 2 at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, amid calls to release immigrants detained under President Donald Trump's executive order effectively banning travel from seven majority Muslim nations.
Protesters hold signs outside Terminal 2 at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, amid calls to release immigrants detained under President Donald Trump's executive order effectively banning travel from seven majority Muslim nations.
Brian Frank/KPCC

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"We were sitting on the floors, we figured out the best electrical outlets at LAX," recalled lawyer Lindsay Toczylowsky of her experience helping set up a mobile legal clinic at the airport over the weekend. "We had lawyers at times with balloons that said 'lawyer' in Farsi, Arabic and English and they were walking around the baggage claim area so that families could know where they were." 

Toczylowsky (far right) helps reunite a family with their grandparents after the elderly couple was detained for over 22 hours.
Toczylowsky (far right) helps reunite a family with their grandparents after the elderly couple was detained for over 22 hours.
Courtesy of ImmDef

Over the weekend as people started learning of President Trump's executive order to restrict travel from 7 majority Muslim nations, protests erupted at international airports across the country. In addition to demonstrators, there were lawyers-- working for free. Here in Los Angeles, the amount of lawyers numbered in the hundreds. 

Handmade sign by one of the lawyers at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Handmade sign by one of the lawyers at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Taylor Orci/KPCC

"Mobile legal clinics would normally take months of planning," says Toczylowsky, founder and executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, the largest deportation defense firm in LA. "In this case at LAX it was really a bunch of attorneys independent of each other showing up with backpacks, with laptops, and papers." ImmDef also put out a call for Arabic and Farsi translators to help folks at the airport. Nearly 1,500 people reached out to help. 

Toczylowsky talked Friday morning with Off-Ramp producer Taylor Orci about what it was like to set up a mobile legal clinic, virtually overnight.