New York City and its neighboring counties are home to thousands of young immigrants who are separated from their parents or primary caregivers and many who are entirely on their own without any family support. To help this cohort with its myriad legal and social problems, Fordham Law’s Feerick Center for Social Justice has launched the New York Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Project.
The project will work to support improved policy and practice toward unaccompanied immigrant children, who are often exploited and abused by traffickers, smugglers, employers, relatives, or other adults. As a result of their undocumented status, the children also face homelessness; lack of healthcare and mental healthcare; difficulty accessing education; and inadequate access to justice, particularly legal representation.
The center will work with local child advocacy groups, academic programs, researchers, and government stakeholders, among others, to improve New York policy and practice affecting the children. Law students will provide integral support in the form of legal and policy research, preparing and conducting surveys, helping to plan stakeholder convenings, and participating in all other aspects of the project.
A seminar course on children and immigration will be offered in fall 2013. The project is supported by a generous grant from a private donor.