Securing Equal Justice

Supporting Immigrants

The image of America as a nation of immigrants has never been more true to life. Forty-two million foreign-born people live in the United States; a new immigrant arrives every 28 seconds. Unlike previous generations, they’re moving beyond traditional gateway cities to make homes in large and small communities throughout the country, some of which were virtually untouched by immigration until recently.

With our partners in government, we’re working to ensure that justice, in the form of fundamental legal protections and services, is available to them. That involves building trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement agencies and overcoming language barriers, so that the motto “protect and serve” genuinely applies to everyone. We’re also working to understand and meet the needs of the growing number of vulnerable children who enter the United States alone, and giving people facing deportation—many who have lived here for years—a fair shot in immigration court.

Related Work

Series: Target 2020

The Party Platforms Must Address the Urgent Need to Transform American Criminal Justice

America’s justice system is rooted in the nation’s history of slavery and racial oppression and applying a human dignity lens is necessary to achieve transformational change. This perspective values the intrinsic worth of human life and a person’s ability to grow and change. In that spirit, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) urges important party ...

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  • Hayne Yoon
    Hayne Yoon
  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
June 17, 2020
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Series: Covid-19

Vera’s New Prevalence Model Suggests COVID-19 is Spreading through ICE Detention at Much Higher Rates than Publicized

As of May 31, 2020, ICE reported testing 2,781 people in its custody; 1,461 positive cases were disclosed at just 61 of the more than 200 facilities it uses to detain people. ICE has not clarified whether the remaining tests are confirmed negative or still pending, meaning a minimum of 52 percent of people tested have received positive test results ...

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  • Nina Siulc
    Nina Siulc
June 04, 2020
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Series: Covid-19

Communities Need State and Local Deportation Defense Programs Now More Than Ever

Presently, the vast majority of people in immigration detention—70 percent—have no legal representation. This is because people facing deportation do not have the right to a public defender if they cannot afford one. And without legal representation, they face slim chances of being released from custody and remaining in the United States. With near ...

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  • Melissa Garlick
    Melissa Garlick
May 12, 2020
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Series: Covid-19

Facebook Post Put High School Student in a Detention Facility Now Struck by Coronavirus

In February 2018, Hernandez, upset about a change in location for her special education program, wrote, “I’m coming tomorrow morning and I’m going to shoot all of ya bitches,” on East High School’s Facebook page. She was charged with making a terroristic threat. She pled guilty to third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor offense, a ...

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  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
April 28, 2020
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Series: Covid-19

Unaccompanied Children Suffer as Hearings are Sped Up, Switched to Video During COVID-19 Crisis

Video teleconference (VTC) hearings allow unaccompanied children to participate in court proceedings without physically appearing in court. The children answer questions from a judge on a screen, who might be translated by an interpreter in a third location. Such hearings are commonplace in adult immigration proceedings, despite concerns about thei ...

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  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
April 14, 2020
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