Working with UCs in shelter can be overwhelming. There are so may organizations and departments involved, how does anything get done? Who can you contact if a child wants to talk by phone with a relative but has been unable to do so? What if a child is about to age out of ORR custody and wants to avoid adult detention, where do you focus your advocacy? How do you find out who your opposing counsel will be in immigration court? Where do you send an appeal of USCIS’ denial of a UC’s petition for special immigrant juvenile status? It seems like knowing who is who in the UC world and what they do can be key to advocating for your client. To help you in this process, CILA has created a guide that is intended to answer these and other questions to ensure effective assistance and representation of your UC clients, and help you build strong relationships with the many key UC stakeholders.
We use this word “stakeholder” frequently; it has become part of the lexicon, thanks to corporate America, but what does it actually mean? The Oxford English Dictionary has a great definition:
I love that this word started from a gambling context, as many of us in the field of immigration law feel that getting immigration benefits from the government these days is a “crap shoot,” but it is the second part of the definition that is important to remember. “Denoting a type of organization or system in which all the members or participants are seen as having an interest in its success.” Remembering that all people we come across when representing UCs are working towards “success” and in the interest of the children.
In this guide we will discuss the following agencies and related stakeholders, and the different roles people play within these organizations:
- DHS (including ICE, CBP, USCIS)
- HHS (including ORR)
- Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
- State Courts
- Federal Courts