USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

USCRI's Immigrant Services Division

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) has served immigrants in the United States on a national level and through its field offices and affiliates for over a century. In 2012, USCRI reorganized its programs to reflect its increasing organizational involvement with immigrants and created USCRI’s Immigrant Services Division (ISD), which includes legal support for unaccompanied immigrant children, the Post Release Services Program, and the National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program. Our division is developing plans to expand existing international work in Mexico and Central America, where staff have conducted trainings with government officials, service providers, and community members on issues surrounding migration.

Immigrant Children's Legal Program

The number of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border into the U.S. is a growing humanitarian crisis.  The countries of Central America are experiencing increased community violence, organized crime and cartel violence which create the forced migration of individuals and families.  Children fleeing alone are in desperate need of protection from community and family violence, organized crime and trafficking.  Their migration includes treacherous journeys to the US leaving them vulnerable to many types of risk.  
 
USCRI’s Immigrant Children's Legal Program (formerly the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children) works with over 275 law firms and thousands of attorneys throughout the U.S. to provide these children with pro bono legal representation in their immigration proceedings.  Without adequate representation, children are unable to make claims for asylum, trafficking protection or other special status to which they may be eligible. In addition to mentoring individual pro bono attorneys, the Immigrant Children's Legal Program (ICLP) conducts trainings and maintains updated materials on immigration law at USCRI’s online resource library. ICLP has conducted migration awareness workshops in Mexico and Central America and hosted international conferences on child immigration issues. To date, ICLP has made a difference in the immigration cases of nearly 5,000 children.

Immigrant Children’s Case Management Program

Children who enter the US not in the company of a parent or guardian and without legal status are often detained by the Department of Homeland Security. These children are referred to as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC). Once apprehended they are placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. All UAC have the opportunity to pursue reunification with a family member, otherwise known as a “sponsor”, in the United States. The sponsor agrees to care for the child until a decision is made on his or her immigration case. Some children are eligible for case management services following release from federal custody. These children often have experienced severe trauma in their country of origin or during their journey to the US and benefit from the additional support of a social worker or case manager during their transition to the sponsor’s home.  Many UAC are able to adjust their immigration status and remain legally in the US.

Once here, children need support for their basic needs and compassion to overcome the trauma they have experienced.  USCRI has over 100 years of experience serving refugees and immigrants and is currently providing skilled linkages to education, legal, health and mental health services for these children. Case managers monitor the child’s safety and well-being and can also provide support to sponsors while the children adjust to their new home and community.  USCRI’s Case Management Program serves children nationally in collaboration with the following partners: International Institute of New England (Boston, MA); Children’s Bureau (Santa Ana, CA); Covenant House (Atlanta, GA); YMCA International (Houston, TX); International Institute of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA); Jewish Family Services (Metairie, LA), Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care (Washington, DC); International Institute of St. Louis (Saint Louis, MO); USCRI NC (Raleigh, NC), Youth Co-Op (Miami, FL).

National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program

USCRI is one of three Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Human Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (NHTVAP) grantees responsible for the administration and oversight of comprehensive case management services for foreign national victims of human trafficking who are seeking HHS Certification. USCRI administers NHTVAP in 29 states and six American territories. In partnership with local service providers in our service area, USCRI works to assist survivors and family members in rebuilding their lives and re-establishing independent living. 

 

Contact USCRI's Immigrant Services Division Staff

Please contact us to learn more about our programs or for information about intern or volunteer opportunities.

 Immigrant Children's Legal Program

Stacy Jones
Senior Staff Attorney
(703) 310-1130 ext. 3122
sjones[at]uscridc[dot]org

Lisa Swanson
Staff Attorney
(703) 310-1130 ext. 3138
lswanson[at]uscridc[dot]org

Immigrant Children's Case Management Program

Tiffany Nelms
Associate Director
(703) 310-1130 ext. 3039
tnelms[at]uscridc[dot]org

Amy Schafer
Program Officer
(919) 334-0072 ext. 4009
aschafer[at]uscrinc[dot]org

Gabriela Mena
Program Assistant
(703) 310-1130 ext. 3068
gmena[at]uscridc[dot]org

National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program

To contact NHTVAP, please call 1-800-307-4712

Melissa Segundo-Moreno
Associate Director
traffickingvictims[at]uscridc[dot]org

Rissa Obcemea
Program Officer
traffickingvictims[at]uscridc[dot]org

Maureen Gibbons
Program Assistant
traffickingvictims[at]uscridc[dot]org

OUR OFFICE

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 350
Arlington, Virginia 22202-3711

Phone: (703) 310-1130
Fax: (703) 769-4241

©2011 USCRI
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