Oren Root Named Director of Center on Immigration and Justice

NEW YORK—The Vera Institute of Justice has named Oren Root as director of its Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ). The center develops evidence-based justice solutions for government systems affecting immigrants and their families. Root has served as interim director of CIJ since December 2007.

Root has worked with Vera and its spin-off organizations in various capacities since 1992. Most recently, he was the deputy director of the Police Assessment Resource Center, a Vera spin-off that fosters police accountability and civilian oversight of law enforcement. From 1997 to 2000, he was national director of Vera’s Appearance Assistance Program, a groundbreaking pilot program that offered an alternative to detention for immigrants facing deportation.

As director of CIJ, Root will supervise an array of ongoing initiatives. Current CIJ projects include the Legal Orientation Program, Translating Justice, and the Unaccompanied Children Program. The Legal Orientation Program collaborates with government agencies and volunteer legal service providers around the nation to improve court efficiency and case outcomes by providing legal information to detainees facing deportation. Translating Justice collaborates with law enforcement agencies and immigrant communities to reduce the challenges to justice that are posed by language barriers, immigration status, and cultural differences. The Unaccompanied Children Program works with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and nonprofit organizations to provide legal representation to children who are facing deportation.

Root succeeds Anita Khashu, the founding director of CIJ, who will continue serving as senior advisor to CIJ. Khashu is also currently a Fulbright Scholar working in Mexico City on the treatment of Central American migrants in transit to the United States.