2015 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Stephanie Lubert
Name of Host Organization: HIAS
City, State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue area: Immigrant Populations, Children/Youth
Sponsors: AmeriCorps VISTA; Department of Justice; HIAS
Stephanie provides direct legal representation to unaccompanied children in removal proceedings before the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
Need Addressed By Project:
It’s estimated that more than 70,000 children attempted to cross the southwest border without a parent or guardian in 2014 alone. This represents a staggering increase in unaccompanied minor children, of whom there were fewer than 20,000 just three years ago. Despite their vulnerability, these children are not guaranteed any kind of legal representation. Lack of legal counsel combined with the dramatic surge of children entering the U.S. has led to a critical need for low-cost legal services. This project aims to give unaccompanied children fleeing violence, abuse, and trafficking a fair chance at justice.
In the next six months, Stephanie plans to: • Continue to represent unaccompanied children in their immigration proceedings • Continue to provide legal orientations and legal screenings for youth at the Philadelphia Immigration Court • Continue to recruit and mentor pro bono attorneys to represent children’s caretakers in state court proceedings related to the children’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status claims
The Right Person For This Project:
Stephanie is the right person for this project because: • She has spent many years working with immigrant communities and understands the unique challenges they face • In carrying out this project, Stephanie will draw on her prior experience advocating for asylee and refugee populations, her work with Villanova’s Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services, as well as her recent work representing victims of sexual assault in immigration and family court proceedings • She is committed to ensuring that immigrant youth have access to quality legal representation