The New York Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and Immigrant Families Project
Since 2012, record numbers of immigrant children and families have crossed the southern United States border, largely seeking refuge from life-threatening violence in their home countries. Thousands of these children and families have settled in New York State. Studies show that most of these children and families are eligible for long-term immigration relief, but they are not guaranteed counsel, and their undocumented status often complicates their access to basic services—including stable housing, education, and healthcare—and increases their risk for exploitation or domestic violence in the United States. The New York Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and Immigrant Families Project supports coordinated efforts to improve state and local policy toward these vulnerable populations by partnering with stakeholders in fact finding, policy advocacy, resource development, and capacity building efforts. The Project connects students with service opportunities through its partners and engages students in its own work through a fellowship sponsored by the New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation, among other efforts.
The Project’s current work focuses on access to justice and community supports for immigrant families released from detention, language access in New York family courts, and equality of education opportunities for recently-arrived immigrant children. The Project is directed by Bree Bernwanger and supported by a generous grant from a private donor.