justice AmeriCorps is a new program that will help immigrant children who have crossed the U.S. border without a parent or guardian as they navigate complex immigration court proceedings. These children, some as young as five, fled extreme violence and poverty in their home countries. They are not guaranteed any representation in court, but without legal assistance, the likelihood that they will be sent back to these horrific conditions is high.
The justice AmeriCorps program is funded by a federal grant from the strategic partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service (which operates the AmeriCorps program) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), in addition to private contributions. The majority of the federal funding allocated for the project — $1.2 million — was awarded to a partnership led by Equal Justice Works, which includes the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), to support a cadre of 46 full-time legal professionals — lawyers and paralegals — who will serve as AmeriCorps members in 20 cities across the United States with the greatest need: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Seattle.