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Lauren Blodgett

2016, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Lauren Blodgett

Lauren Blodgett

Name of Host Organization: Safe Passage Project
City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

The Project

Provide direct representation, legal advice, and community outreach to unaccompanied minors in New York, with a focus on child victims of sexual abuse and gender-based violence.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Over the past few years, the United States has experienced an unprecedented surge of unaccompanied minors entering the country at the southern border. . Upon arrival, many of these children settle in New York, which has received the second highest number of unaccompanied minors after Texas. Since immigrants are not provided with representation in removal proceedings, more than 60% of these children do not have an attorney representing them and have to face this complex system alone.
The Right Person For This Project
Lauren is the right person for the project because:
• She has experience working with migrants and refugees from all over the world through her internships in South Africa, Morocco, and at Harvard’s Immigration and Refugee Clinic
• She has worked at children’s rights non-profits in Bangkok and Boston and understands the unique trauma that children face, especially victims of sexual exploitation
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Lauren will:
• Represent unaccompanied minors in New York immigration court, in particular children fleeing gender-based violence
• Join Safe Passage Project on visits to its partner high school in order to provide undocumented children with legal advice and learn more about the school outreach model in preparation of creating a new partnership with another school
• Start a girls empowerment group to facilitate peer-mentoring between past and current clients and create a community and safe space for girls who are victims of sexual violence
• Partner with pro bono attorneys and volunteers in order to provide high quality services to our clients and assist as many unrepresented children as possible