HuffPost Honor Roll: A City's New Program Gives Undocumented Minors Legal Help

The New York City initiative protects thousands of youth from deportation.

As journalists, we dutifully report on what's going wrong, from scandals and corruption to natural disasters and social problems. But far too often the media fails to show the whole picture, neglecting to tell the stories of what is working. From scientific breakthroughs to successful crime-reduction initiatives, the What’s Working Honor Roll highlights some of the best reporting and analysis, from a range of media outlets, on all the ways people are working toward solutions to some of our greatest challenges.  

Last year, New York City implemented a $1.9 million program that provides legal representation for more than 1,600 unaccompanied, undocumented children from Central America currently living in the city. The initiative helps shield these children from deportation, and helps undocumented youth petition for and receive asylum, winning 14 petitions for unaccompanied minors last year. It also ensures they have access to social services. 

"New York City stepped up and resolved the unaccompanied minors representation crisis here," City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said. 

Each year, thousand children and teens flee poverty and violence in Central America, coming to the United States with the intention of reuniting with family members. But even when they're able to locate relatives, these family members are often unable to provide the social and legal services they need.

The city council set aside $1.5 million to continue the program for the upcoming fiscal year. Mark-Viverito said other cities should follow suit. "Now it's time for others to follow," she said. "There is no excuse for failing these vulnerable children." 


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