AILA Welcomes Program to Help Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Friday, June 6, 2014

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

AILA Welcomes Program to Help Unaccompanied Migrant Children

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the announcement that a new partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) called "justice AmeriCorps" has been established to help unaccompanied children navigate the immigration court system. Funded by $2 million from the DOJ, the program will create approximately 100 slots for Americorps members to provide legal assistance to unaccompanied migrant children in many of the nation's immigration courts.

"Justice Americorps is a good step and I commend the leadership of DOJ and CNCS who have made this program possible," said AILA President Doug Stump. He continued, "Lack of counsel is a major institutional problem in our immigration courts that undermines fairness and due process as well as the court's own efficiency. This effort will team knowledgeable Americorps members with these most vulnerable of immigrants who face our convoluted immigration court system with understandable fear and trepidation. To see a child go through a court hearing is a heart-wrenching experience, but without counsel they are completely lost at sea. Building on the strong tradition of Americorps service is an inspired choice as these people want to make a difference and these children desperately need their help. However, the sad truth is that because of the relatively small budget, most children facing removal will continue to appear without any assistance from this new program."

Children who will be helped by the program must be under 16 years of age and not in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement or the Department of Homeland Security. To be eligible they must also have received a notice to appear in removal proceedings before an immigration court and not had their cases consolidated with removal proceedings against a parent or legal guardian.

More information for nonprofits seeking to apply for an Americorps member will be forthcoming, as will more details about the program.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14060653.