Michelle Saucedo

  • Hosted by Immigrant Defenders Law Center
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Los Angeles , California
  • Law school University of Washington School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Michelle will defend undocumented children and youth in immigration removal proceedings who have been impacted by the child welfare and juvenile delinquency systems. She will also disrupt the child-welfare/juvenile-justice-to-immigration-enforcement pipeline by engaging in advocacy for preventative services and support that will protect affected children/youth from immigration enforcement.

Undocumented children and youth who have endured the challenges and injustices of the child welfare and juvenile delinquency systems are one of the most vulnerable populations in this country. As they navigate either or both juvenile justice systems, their exposure to severe trauma, punishment, negative categorization, and other factors can puts them at higher risk of deportation. When faced with deportation, these children and youth often have a difficult time finding counsel because their cases are deemed too challenging or unsympathetic. Michelle will specifically focus on defending this vulnerable population and provide support through legal representation in immigration court and with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She will also engage in community outreach and education, training and technical assistance, and collaborate with local and state stakeholders to develop more protections and preventative measures for vulnerable undocumented children and youth who have been exposed to the juvenile justice systems.

Fellowship Plans

Michelle will provide free legal services and representation to children who are in immigration removal proceedings and have juvenile justice issues; partner with community stakeholders that work directly with undocumented children and youth who have been categorized as “at risk” and provide immigration assistance workshops. Finally, Michelle will establish a presence within the juvenile courts to facilitate direct access to immigration advice and services, and other pertinent resources.

These children, who have endured so much, provide compelling testimonies of survival and redemption in spite of unimaginable trauma and pain. These are the cases that desperately need advocacy to be heard and given justice. Without legal representation, these undocumented children and youth will not have the chance to effectively explain their trauma, the context of any juvenile justice issues, and their best interests for staying in the United States. This project gives me the opportunity to advocate for them and intervene in systems that have otherwise disposed of them.

Michelle Saucedo /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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