Safe Passage Project's Annual Fund
No child should face immigration court alone.
The Safe Passage Project works with volunteer attorneys and New York Law School students to help unaccompanied minors in the immigration process. Each month, Safe Passage faculty and students interview children facing removal. Because U.S. law does not provide representation to immigrant children, Safe Passage advocates screen these cases and then refer children with possible immigration law relief to pro bono counsel. Safe Passage also works closely with public school teachers, school social workers, and school administrators to serve the unmet needs of immigrant youth living in New York City and attending New York City public schools. We educate students about the types of benefits available to immigrant youth [e.g., Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Deferred Action, asylum, U-Visa, T-Visa, VAWA, Family-based petitions and derivative citizenship], by enlisting public school administrators and teachers in disseminating know your rights materials, screening and representing eligible youth, and by training and mentoring attorneys who commit to handling cases on a pro bono basis. Each year since 2001, approximately 86,000 juveniles have been apprehended by U.S. immigration officials while entering the U.S. illegally. Many of these children are unaccompanied and are seeking refuge from abuse and maltreatment. Others come to the U.S. with parents or family members who are unable or unwilling to care for them. Because the immigration process is a civil system, aliens in the U.S. are not entitled to legal counsel at government expense. As a result, many immigrant children face a complex system on their own. Safe Passage provides training, resources, and mentoring to volunteer attorneys regarding Special Immigrant Juvenile status (SIJS), as well as other possible immigration alternatives for children.