Immigrant Juvenile Program

Do you remember what it was like being 10 or 12 years old? You probably remember being in school, playing with you friends, and generally not having to worry about being taken care of. Most certainly, you didn’t have to worry about gangs or losing your life for fear of a gang.  Unfortunately, for our some of our clients, this is not the case.

Many children come to the United States each year from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico to escape from the extreme criminal gang violence that envelopes them. These same children often come from extreme poverty and don’t have enough food to eat. Some of these children make their way to Catholic Charities Atlanta’s immigrant juvenile program.

Here at Catholic Charities Atlanta (CCA), we offer free representation to children under the age of 16 at immigration court. Since this past December, we have helped 42 children with their cases. Every one of these children has been abused in one form or another.

One such client came here from Guatemala to live with an aunt. He and his brother used to live with their abusive father. There was not very much food to eat and their dad often left them without. The breaking point for this 15 year-old boy came when he witnessed his brother’s murder from a local gang. He knew then that he had to come to America to find his aunt, if he wanted the chance to live his life.

The great news is that he did make his way here and to CCA. One of our immigrant attorneys has found his aunt and he is now living with her in a safe environment.  We are in the process of getting him a green card, so he can live here legally and get an education.

Our goal is to help these children find safety and stability in their lives. No child should have to fear for their life or worry about where their next meal is coming from. We help them find a way to stay here legally. Then, in the future, we can help them become productive and caring U. S. citizens.

To learn more about our work with immigrant juvenile children, and how you can help, please read our website at:
www.catholiccharitiesatlanta.org/services/immigration-legal-services/unaccompaniedminors

Trineice HillPictured is Trineice Hill, Staff Attorney, Equal Justice Works Americorps Legal Fellow. Trineice, along with our other staff attorneys, works with CCA’s immigrant juvenile clients.

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