As hundreds of families separated at the border by Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy were finally reunited and headed to Long Island, many wondered if they would be able to find legal representation here. Fortunately, the Immigrant Justice Corps and CARECEN are opening a new office in Hempstead on Long Island this week to assist these children with their removal and deportation proceedings.
The six-person unit will also provide legal defense to unaccompanied children and other children who came to Long Island before zero-tolerance went into effect.
The Immigrant Justice Corps’ Harold Solis, the new office’s supervising attorney, said that the unit is designed to help fill the gap in services for the more than 8,500 Long Island children currently in deportation proceedings. He stressed that the new project will help those children who have been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Border Patrol and who have an upcoming court date in the next 12 months.
The new office will be open to a large number of referrals for children living in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. Services are free and include asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) representation for children. Parents arrested with the children may also be eligible for services. The project organizers anticipate accepting 150 new cases in the first six months of this project.
While the project will be based next to CARECEN’s existing Hempstead office at 91 North Franklin Street, services will also be provided in Brentwood. The children and their parents can come from anywhere in Nassau and Suffolk.
Clients should not visit or call CARECEN to schedule an appointment. Referrals will ONLY be accepted through our online referral form. Please fill out one form for each client.
CARECEN asks that community groups, social service providers, schools, and religious groups fill out the form for the children and their parents.
I have worked for nearly a year with a great group of lawyers, advocates, and a marvelous donor to make this new office a reality. Now, it is up to Long Island’s excellent nonprofits and community groups to help put the children in touch with these services.