Annie Chen is a program director in the Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) at Vera. Since 2017, she has worked on the launch and implementation of a national network of cities committed to providing legal representation to immigrants in deportation proceedings—with the goal of replicating the New York Immigrant Family Unity Program (NYIFUP), the first-in-the-nation public defender program for immigrants in detention. Annie also works on the Remote Access Initiative (RAI), a pilot project in the Southeast region to provide legal representation to unaccompanied children who, due to geographic distance from the immigration court, are less likely to be represented. Previously, Annie was the associate program director of the Unaccompanied Children Program at Vera, a national initiative to increase access to justice for unaccompanied children.
Annie is a lawyer who practiced in the litigation department of the law firm DLA Piper before joining Vera in January 2013. In addition to her regular caseload at DLA Piper, Annie dedicated herself to the pro bono representation of immigrants facing removal and criminal justice matters. Annie also worked at the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Law Unit in New York, where she represented detained immigrants and conducted Know Your Rights presentations. She holds a BA from Columbia College and a JD from Fordham Law School. Before law school, Annie was a research and program associate at the Brennan Center for Justice.