National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60604
Immigrant Children's Protection Project
The Immigrant Children’s Protection Project represents and advocates for detained and non-detained immigrant children who face the possibility of deportation to a dangerous homeland. Each year, tens of thousands of children arrive in the United States without a parent or guardian. Denied their childhood, many minors come to escape violent gang recruitment, acute poverty, abusive labor conditions, forced recruitment as child soldiers, forced child marriages, and female genital mutilation.
Unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings, like all immigrants in this situation, do not have access to court-appointed counsel. Less than half of the estimated 10,000 children per year entangled in the U.S. immigration system go through their hearings with any legal representation. NIJC works with a strong network of pro bono attorneys to ensure that every child who comes before the Chicago immigration court has access to legal counsel.
NIJC and its local and national partners collaborate to develop strategies that advocate for systemic change, identify gaps in the system, and propose recommendations for reform. NIJC meets frequently with federal government officials to educate them about the necessity of legal counsel for minors, both accompanied and unaccompanied.
Resources for unaccompanied immigrant children can be found here.
Photo credit: Rick Reinhard/Creative Commons
With the help of NIJC, 134 unaccompanied immigrant children were granted immigration relief in 2010.