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Audio via @WBAI_Radio: Kids In Deportation

December 30, 2011

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WHAT:  Special Broadcast December 28, 2011 from the New Sanctuary Coalition on Pacifica Radio 99.5 WBAI Radio NY

Annually, approximately 6000 unaccompanied minors are arrested by federal immigration agents and placed into removal proceedings.  These children are placed in the care of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and held in various facilities around the country ranging from foster care settings to shelters to juvenile detention centers.  Many are eventually released to relatives or other adult caretakers.  Their deportation cases, however, continue.  Without appointed counsel, many have to navigate the immigration system alone.

This program will discuss the law, policies, and realities of these children

HOSTED BY: Ravi Ragbir of The New Sanctuary Coalition


Wendy T. Wylegala is Supervising Attorney for Pro Bono Programs in the New York office of Kids in Need of Defense, a national non-profit that seeks to expand pro bono representation for unaccompanied minors in immigration matters.  She joined KIND in November 2008 as a Pro Bono Coordinator, serving first in Newark, NJ before joining the New York office in March 2011.  With a full-time staff of three, KIND’s New York office trains and mentors pro bono attorneys, and conducts intake interviews and know-your-rights programs for children.

Elissa Steglich is the Managing Attorney at the American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, New Jersey.  In addition to supervising legal staff, she provides direct representation to asylum seekers, immigrant children, and immigrant victims of violence and human trafficking.  She has provided training to pro bono attorneys, state court judges and child welfare workers and administrators on legal protections available to immigrant children.

Maria Woltjen is the Director and founder of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, based at the University of Chicago Law School. The Young Center’s primary is to serve as guardian ad litem (Child Advocate) for trafficking victims and unaccompanied immigrant children pursuant to the 2008 TVPRA. The Young Center trains bilingual law students, graduate social work students and lay volunteers to serve as Child Advocates for children in immigration detention, as well as children who have never been apprehended by immigration authorities.  The Child Advocates help unravel the children’s life stories and ensure that while they are most vulnerable—separated from their families and subject to deportation—decision-makers consider the children’s best interests in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and applicable state and federal law.  Informed by its work on behalf of individual children, the Young Center advocates for policy change at the national level and local level.  Ms. Woltjen is appointed a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School where she directs the Immigrant Child Advocacy clinic.

Dr. Greg Lewis is a Clinical Psychologist in the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where he has been on staff since 1987.  He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and has a part-time private practice in Wheaton, IL doing individual, couples, and family therapy. He received his doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.  Dr. Lewis works with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings and specializes in treating those who suffer from chronic illnesses or have been traumatized or abused.  He is Co-Director of the Adolescent & Young Adult Clinic at Stroger Hospital, and regularly consults to the Child Protective Services team, the pediatric and trauma units, and the emergency room.

Father Fabian Arias: Minister of the Sion Church in Harlem and Co-Chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC. He is ministers to a large group of undocumented immigrants and understands the fear that they face. He asks that all people be treated with respect and dignity.

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