Children's Legal Orientation Project
VAIJ currently provides Know Your Rights presentations for unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings in the custody of the Office for Refugee Resettlement/Division of Unaccompanied Children’s Services (ORR/DUCS) in Washington State. The program is funded by ORR/DUCS, and administered by the Vera Institute of Justice. Immigrant children in removal proceedings face unique obstacles in proving their claims for relief, and even those who are ineligible for relief require assistance, as children who are alone, afraid, and often traumatized, facing a foreign culture, language, and legal system. VAIJ currently provides group and individual legal orientations for unaccompanied children, explaining relevant forms of relief including voluntary departure, asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile visas, relief under the Violence Against Women Act, and T and U visas, for victims of human trafficking and related crimes. The legal orientations allow immigrant children to understand their situations and help them address specific questions about the law and court process. VAIJ coordinates the work of pro bonoattorneys to provide representation, information, and help in navigating the complexities of the immigration system. Through its Children’s Program, VAIJ works to improve access to legal services for detained immigrant children and to ensure that these children do not have to face the United States immigration system alone.