Each year, thousands of unaccompanied children, many fleeing unspeakable violence in their own countries, enter the United States. Upon apprehension and after enduring a harrowing journey, they are detained in federal custody in facilities contracted by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and immediately placed in removal (deportation) proceedings without the benefit of an appointed attorney to guide them through this complicated process. Vera works to preserve the rights of tens of thousands of migrant children, by partnering with a network of legal service providers across the U.S. who inform these children of their rights under U.S. law and defend them in their legal proceedings. This work is part of Vera’s Unaccompanied Children Program (UCP) and is funded by ORR.

Under the umbrella of Vera’s UCP work, we are also providing technical assistance to two dozen legal service providers throughout California, as part of the California Unaccompanied Minors Technical Assistance (UMTA) Network. This work is funded by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

Project Objectives

  • No unaccompanied child should face immigration court without the help of an attorney.

  • Unaccompanied children fleeing persecution and harm should be able to meaningfully access the legal protections afforded them by the laws of the United States.

Unaccompanied Children

Vera works nationwide to provide legal services and representation to unaccompanied children in removal proceedings, develop best practices, and expand representation to ensure that no child appears in immigration court alone. The map on the right shows the six different regions, distinguished by color, where our legal service providers operate. Click on a state to see the cities covered by our network as well as the names and websites of our legal service providers in that area.