Photo of Cynthia Hodge

Caroline Hodge

  • Hosted by Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition
  • Sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school The George Washington University Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Caroline challenged the way the U.S. immigration system treats child survivors of extreme violence and extend fundamental protections to unaccompanied children detained in the federal immigration system.

Children flee to the U.S. seeking refuge from atrocious violence. Many have experienced significant trauma, both in their countries of origin and during their arduous journeys to the U.S. In the U.S., immigrant children are subject to detention by the Office of Refugee and Resettlement (“ORR”). In some circumstances, ORR detention can exacerbate children’s symptoms of trauma, jeopardize their emotional and physical well-being, and undermine their ability to participate effectively in their immigration legal cases. Children in prolonged restrictive ORR detention are especially vulnerable and need holistic legal representation to challenge their detention and prevent their removal to countries where they fear harm.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship period, Caroline:

  • Obtained a final grant for relief under the Convention Against Torture and release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) detention for an unaccompanied child who survived torture and persecution in his country of origin and nearly two-years of U.S. immigration detention
  • Provided mentorship to pro bono attorneys for four appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals
  • Provided legal services to around forty-six children in ORR secure detention
  • Obtained the release of two unaccompanied children from ORR detention, days before their 18th birthdays and likely transfers to ICE custody

Next Steps

Caroline continues at Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition as a staff attorney in the Detained Children’s Program. At CAIR, Caroline provides direct representation to immigrant children who are detained or released in the Washington, D.C., area.


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