Since the issue of unaccompanied immigrant children has hit the news, we’ve gotten a number of requests about how to help! While the kids are in federal custody and direct volunteer opportunities are limited, there are a number of things concerned community members can do. Here are some ideas:
1. Donate to the Florence Project! We are the only organization that provides free legal services to the over 500 unaccompanied immigrant children detained in Arizona on any given day (after they have been processed out of temporary Border Patrol custody into longer-term shelters). There is no public defender system in immigration, so every penny you give will go towards providing possibly life-saving legal assistance to a person who wouldn’t otherwise have a lawyer. Donations go towards direct case costs (which run around $350-$500 per child pursuing the Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa, for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parents), other associated legal costs, and our integrated social services program, which provides extra support to our most vulnerable clients.
2. Take a pro bono case! If you are an attorney and interested in volunteering for the Florence Project, please contact Tally Kingsnorth at tkingsnorth at firrp.org. We depend on our amazing community of pro bono attorneys to maximize our impact helping Arizona’s immigrant kids – join us!
3. Volunteer for or donate supplies to the Phoenix Restoration Project (in Phoenix), or Casa Mariposa (in Tucson). These sister organizations accompany people released from detention to the Greyhound stations in Phoenix and Tucson, whether directly from the Border Patrol, from long-term immigrant detention centers in Florence and Eloy, or shelters for unaccompanied minors (once a kid turns 18).