Al Otro Lado is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in California.
We are a bi-national, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico. The bulk of our services are immigration-related. However, the needs of the people we serve are diverse, so we also coordinate with attorneys and non-legal professionals in a range of areas such as family law, labor law, criminal law (particularly post-conviction relief), and employment law. We also assist families with aspects of reunification in Mexico when it has been determined by U.S. authorities that it is in the best interest of the child to live with his or her parent in Mexico. We work with non-custodial deported parents to ensure their rights as parents are protected in the United States family court system.
Al Otro Lado started as a project in 2012 between current board members Nora Phillips and Esmeralda Flores. At the time, Nora was a Staff Attorney at CARECEN (Central American Resource Center) in Los Angeles and Esmeralda was an attorney for PDIB (Programa de Defensa e Incidencia Binacional), a human rights organization along the US-Mexico border (Esmeralda is now the binational outreach coordinator with ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties for the Lopez-Venegas settlement for victims of coercive and deceptive practices by Customs and Border Protection). Esmeralda was in Tijuana, housed at the Casa del Migrante, a large, longstanding migrant shelter in Tijuana that has helped hundreds of thousands of migrants since its inception in 1987. Esmeralda screened deportees and migrants for violations of civil and human rights by Mexican and US law enforcement authorities, sometimes within as little as hours after their deportation from the US.