Washington, DC – Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) today announced that DLA Piper, Jones Day, and JP Morgan Chase are the organization’s 2020 honorees for outstanding pro bono assistance to unaccompanied children. As dedicated KIND pro bono partners, these honorees have gone above and beyond to ensure that children seeking safety in the United States have an attorney by their side in their immigration proceedings.
“The work of our pro bono partners is nothing short of life-saving,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Without representation, it is nearly impossible for a child to make their case for U.S. protection. They are at great risk of being returned to the dangers that pushed them to flee their home country. KIND could not be more grateful for the time, talent, and hard work they dedicate in representing uniquely vulnerable children whose future is at stake.”
DLA Piper, which received KIND’s Allegiance Award, partnered with KIND in six cities and in Europe on more than 60 cases to which their lawyers have dedicated thousands of hours. In 2019, the firm volunteered over 3,500 hours in pro bono assistance. In one case, DLA Piper represented a teenage girl targeted by the gang that gunned down members of her domestic partner’s family and then turned its sights on her to punish the family for its defiance of their authority. Thanks to DLA Piper, she gained asylum.
KIND also presented an Allegiance Award to Jones Day and an Innovation Award to JPMorgan Chase, two entities that have forged a strong partnership to serve unaccompanied children along the East Coast. In 2019, Jones Day partnered with KIND in five cities on 85 cases, dedicating over 5,000 hours. JPMorgan Chase demonstrated its extraordinary commitment to protecting children on the move by taking on nearly 50 cases in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.
Since 2016, JPMorgan Chase and Jones Day have partnered to hold four screening clinics, interviewing unaccompanied children for potential placement with pro bono counsel. Over 75 JPMorgan Chase volunteers partnered with Jones Day attorneys to interview 37 children. These critical interviews can be the difference in a child’s deportation hearing, providing vital information key to their cases. Jones Day is providing 33 children who were screened at these clinics with ongoing legal representation, dedicating hundreds of hours to ensuring that they have a fair chance to gain U.S. protection.
In one instance, JPMorgan Chase and Jones Day partnered to provide representation to KIND client Alex*, a 12-year old boy who had fled El Salvador after being targeted by gang members. Gang members repeatedly threatened to kill him and his father because of his father’s occupation. JPMorgan Chase and Jones Day attorneys filed an asylum application on Alex’s behalf and represented him in his deportation proceedings. Thanks to the team’s advocacy, Alex was granted asylum in April 2018. Alex is now 14 years old and living happily with his mother in New York.
“Thanks to these partners, unaccompanied children in the United States and in Europe have a new chance at a life free from fear and harm and to regain a childhood that was brutally taken from them by violence and persecution,” said Young. “We look forward to continuing to these vital partnerships to protect unaccompanied refugee children seeking safety.”
*Name have been changed to protect privacy
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