"I wasn’t worried because I had my AI JUSTICE attorney and God."
Marta, featured along with her AI Justice Attorney on CNN’s “Latino in America,” 2011
AI Justice has influenced national policy and laws affecting immigrant children and is widely recognized as an expert in immigrant children’s issues. The Children’s Legal Program was launched in 1999 following the case of “Baby Margaret,” who was abandoned after she was smuggled into the United States.
In 2005, AI Justice collaborated with six community partners to create the Immigrant Children’s Legal and Service Partnership (ICLASP). This program was recognized by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as a “model program for care providers throughout the country.” Today, we remain the lead agency in this unique holistic partnership.
AI Justice has served thousands of unaccompanied children over the years, whether they are in foster care, in local shelters overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), or in the community living with a parent or guardian. Children undertake the perilous journey to the U.S. alone as a last resort because they lack protection in their home country. Once here, they encounter a system that is complex, bewildering and frightening. They need attorneys to navigate the convoluted worlds of State Juvenile and Family Courts, Immigration Courts and the Asylum Office. AI Justice has influenced national policies and laws affecting immigrant children and is widely recognized as an expert in immigrant children’s issues.
We are the only non-profit organization providing comprehensive free legal services to children in immigration shelters in South Florida. The numbers of unaccompanied children entering the country has increased dramatically over the years. They are fleeing war, desperate poverty, oppression, abuse, and persecution. Many have been orphaned, abandoned, or trafficked into the U.S.
9 out of 10 children without attorneys are ordered deported. Those with attorneys are 5 times more likely to be granted protection. For many, this is a matter of life and death.
AI Justice has influenced national policies and laws affecting immigrant children and is widely recognized as an expert in immigrant children’s issues. Staff helped shape new laws for expanding legal protections of unaccompanied immigrant children, incorporated into the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. We continue to advocate nationally for unaccompanied children to have the right to government provided counsel in immigration proceedings.
“I didn’t think I had any hope to stay in the United States after I was returned from New York to the shelter. But AI Justice kept fighting for me; they never gave up. Now I can go live with a family and one day become a citizen. God loves you guys. I love you, too.”
AI Justice Client
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