Vera's Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) works with government, nonprofit partners, and communities to improve government systems that affect immigrants’ lives. CIJ focuses on two objectives: increasing immigrants’ access to legal services, and improving relationships between immigrant communities and law enforcement. The center administers legal services programs, develops and implements pilot programs, provides technical assistance, and conducts evaluation and empirical research.

Related Work

Compassion, Not Confinement

How States and Localities Can Help Ensure Humane Housing for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Awaiting Family Reunification

In the first five months of 2021, about 65,000 children were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after arriving in the United States unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. These children come to the United States seeking protection, stability, and a chance to reunite with their families, but are instead processed at federa ...

Publication
  • Shaina Aber, Lauren Esterle, Derek Loh
June 16, 2021
Publication

Implementing the Vision at the Local and State Level Summary

Advancing Universal Representation: A Toolkit for Advocates, Organizers, Legal Service Providers, and Policymakers

Universal representation—a public defender system for all immigrants facing deportation—is based on the fundamental belief that everyone deserves due process under the law. While a growing movement works toward a legally mandated and federally funded representation system, several counties, cities, and states have stepped up to fund deportation def ...

Publication
April 13, 2021
Publication

One Year Later, We Still Don’t Know How Many People in ICE Detention Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

Despite Vera’s efforts to track what ICE reports on COVID-19 in detention, the agency’s limited reporting remains insufficient for understanding the scope of this crisis and its implications for the treatment of people subject to detention in the future. Critical information—such as the total number of people at risk within facilities, who have bee ...

Blog Post
  • Noelle Smart
    Noelle Smart
  • Adam Garcia
    Adam Garcia
April 08, 2021
Blog Post

A Federal Defender Service for Immigrants

Why We Need a Universal, Zealous, and Person-Centered Model

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) recommends that the Biden administration draw from time-tested models, data, and knowledge to build a federally funded, universal legal defense service that provides universal, zealous, and person-centered defense to all immigrants. This federal defender service should be modeled on the criminal federal defender ...

Publication
  • Vera Institute of Justice
February 09, 2021
Publication