Topics: Immigration

Nicholas Turner Testimony to President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
Written testimony of Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, on the topic of building trust and legitimacy between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, submitted on January 9, 2015 to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Turner...
Finding Free or Low-cost Legal Help
Vera’s Unaccompanied Children Program has prepared a directory of legal service organizations that provide free or low-cost immigration legal assistance and representation for non-detained children in immigration proceedings. The directory, which is organized alphabetically by state, includes...
Out of the Shadows: A Tool for the Identification of Victims of Human Trafficking
The landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act made trafficking in persons a federal crime in 2000, but the greatest obstacle to rescuing victims of human trafficking is identifying them. To make identifying these people easier—and subsequently, getting them the services and support they need...
Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities: Promising Practices from the Field
Today, approximately 40 million foreign-born people live in the United States, seven million of whom arrived within the past eight years. Because very little is known about how most police agencies nationwide work with immigrant communities, in 2010, Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice...
LOP Legal Materials - English
This section includes various Legal Orientation Program fact sheets describing a range of topics of interest to detained immigrants.


Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities (EPIC)

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.

Improving Trafficking Victim Identification Study

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 accompanying guidelines for the tool’s administration. In 2011, Vera was awarded a grant from the NIJ to field test and validate this tool to get closer to a meaningful and practical process for identifying trafficking victims. In 2014, the validated Trafficking Victim Identification Tool and screening guidelines were released along with a research summary and technical report.

Legal Orientation Program

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 30 detention facilities across the country.

New York Immigrant Family Unity Project

The Vera-administered New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the first public defender program in the country for immigrants facing deportation. NYIFUP, which has received $4.9 million in funding from the New York City Council for the current fiscal year, provides detained indigent immigrants facing deportation at New York’s Varick Street Immigration Court with free, high-quality legal representation. The project, which seeks to keep immigrants with their families and in their communities, will also serve detained New York City residents whose deportation cases are being heard in nearby New Jersey locations.

Police Connecting with Communities of Color

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

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.

U-Visa Training for Law Enforcement

Vera 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.

Unaccompanied Children Program

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).

United Communities

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.

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Since its release more than six months ago, the Vera-created Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT)—the first-ever validated screening tool for victims of human trafficking—has generated interest from researchers, immigration attorneys, law...
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Evaluating the professional standards and ethics of security and justice institutions globally is daunting. Working with a myriad of government structures and social dynamics poses significant challenges to any non-governmental organization (NGO)...
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This blog post is the second in a two-part series about Vera’s recently-released Trafficking Victim Identification Tool, a questionnaire designed to make it easier for victim service providers and law enforcement to identify victims of human...
Anne Marie Mulcahy
Director of the Unaccompanied Children Program, Center on Immigration and Justice
Oren Root
Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Susan Shah
Program Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Stacey Strongarone
Program Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Laura Simich
Research Director, Center on Immigration and Justice
Dan Wilhelm
Vice President & Chief Program Officer

About this Topic

Vera's immigration work focuses on increasing detained immigrants’ access to legal information and counsel and improving relationships between immigrant communities and law enforcement officials.