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Partnerships Expand Access to Immigration Justice

January 24, 2023

Last year The Advocates provided legal help to 3,000 people throughout the Upper Midwest—more than twice the number in any previous year. Partnerships with the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) and Vera Institute of Justice are helping build critical capacity.

“The Advocates works closely with our legal services colleagues here in Minnesota, and we know that partnerships are essential to ensuring that no one faces the immigration system alone,” said Hanne Sandison, interim director of The Advocates’ Refugee and Immigrant Program and IJC alum. “We are thrilled to be part of innovative nationwide efforts to expand immigrant justice.”

Laura Cholula (pictured left above) and Pamela Guerrero joined The Advocates' team this fall, kickstarting their legal careers through a two-year Immigrant Justice Corps fellowship. IJC's fellowship identifies promising lawyers who are passionate about immigrants' rights, places them with organizations where they can make the greatest difference and supports them as they directly assist immigrants in need.

At the same time, The Advocates has partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice to expand representation to unaccompanied children in North Dakota who are facing deportation. Staff Attorney Kim Boche, who works closely with The Advocates' unaccompanied child clients, says, "Expecting children to navigate the immigration system alone not only goes against our most fundamental notions of justice, it's ludicrous." With no dedicated immigration legal services in the state, most kids would be left to speak for themselves. Using Vera's universal representation model, The Advocates is working to bridge that gap.