The Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities (EPIC) project is a national effort to identify and assess promising law enforcement practices that cultivate trust and collaboration with immigrant communities. The project uses information collected from a comprehensive study of hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country to offer practical solutions and models for other policing agencies to use to strengthen relationships with the immigrant communities they serve.
In 2006, with funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Vera and diverse local stakeholders launched the New York City Trafficking Assessment Project (NYCTAP) which led to the creation of a screening tool, to identify likely victims of trafficking, and an accompanying guide for the tool’s administration. In 2011, Vera was awarded a grant from the NIJ to validate this tool in the field and get closer to a meaningful and practical identification tool for trafficking victims.
The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) was created to inform immigrant detainees about their rights, immigration court, and the detention process. On behalf of the federal government’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, program staff work with nonprofit legal service agencies to provide the program at 25 detention facilities across the country.
The National Immigrant Victims' Access to Justice Partnership works with law enforcement agencies to provide training on the U-visa, which provides legal immigration status for victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement. With its partner in the project, Legal Momentum, Vera is providing law enforcement agencies nationwide with training and tools for using the U-visa.
The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the first public defender program in the country for immigrants facing deportation. NYIFUP aims to provide indigent immigrants facing deportation at New York’s Varick Street Immigration Court with free, high-quality legal representation. With funding from the New York City Council, Vera is administering the one-year pilot with the aim of improving indigent immigrants’ access to justice and keeping them with their families and in their communities.
Vera is developing a field-informed guidebook to advise law enforcement agencies on how to fill the knowledge and practice gap in effectively policing communities of color while building trust with the diverse communities they serve. The guidebook, known as the Police Connecting with Communities of Color Project (P3C) and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, will contain research, interviews, and case studies, with officers of color providing the majority of the content.
Translating Justice works to overcome communication barriers between law enforcement and communities—such as immigrant enclaves—where many people do not speak or understand English well. The project provides police and law enforcement agencies with training, tailored consulting services, and research on promising practices in the field.
The Unaccompanied Children Program coordinates a national effort to increase pro bono legal representation for immigrant children in removal (deportation) proceedings without a parent or legal guardian. These children may be fleeing poverty, war, or other dangerous circumstances on their own, or they may have lost contact with an adult along the way. They are detained in federal custody in shelters or detention centers contracted by the Division of Children’s Services (DCS, formerly DUCS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
The United Communities project builds law enforcement’s capacity to engage Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in preventing crime. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has funded Vera to partner with three law enforcement agencies and explore the challenges and opportunities of working with AMEMSA communities to support homeland security goals. The project will generate information and resources relevant to community-policing activities in other jurisdictions.
Anne Marie Mulcahy
Director of the Unaccompanied Children Program, Center on Immigration and Justice
Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Program Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Director of the Legal Orientation Program, Center on Immigration and Justice
Vice President & Chief Program Officer