NAPABA PARTNERS WITH HUMANITARIAN GROUP TO REPRESENT
UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Washington, D.C. - The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has formed a first-of-its-kind partnership with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization founded by Microsoft Corporation and actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, to provide pro bono representation of immigrant children who are in the United States without a parent or legal guardian. Approximately 8,000 unaccompanied children come to the U.S. each year, are placed in U.S. custody, and face removal proceedings. More than half of these children do not have a lawyer.
"NAPABA welcomes this opportunity to help children in great need," says NAPABA President Joseph J. Centeno. "For a child to come to the United States seeking safety or freedom from fear and to then face a complex immigration system without a lawyer is hard to imagine. NAPABA members have the skills, dedication, and compassion necessary to help these children."
Children come to the U.S. alone for a variety of reasons. Some are escaping persecution or severe abuse; others have been trafficked or abandoned and are trying to survive. Others come to the U.S. to try to find their parents.
"KIND is extremely excited to be partnering with such a prominent organization with so many talented professionals," says Wendy Young, Executive Director of KIND. "It is organizations like NAPABA that make a real difference in these children's lives because regardless of why they come, no child should have to appear in court without representation. Without a lawyer, children with viable claims for U.S. protection are unable to make their cases to the judges and are returned to their countries of origin where their well-being may be in danger."
KIND matches unaccompanied children in cities across the U.S. with pro bono lawyers, and advocates for changes in law and policy to improve their treatment. NAPABA, which is a membership organization representing individual members and 63 affiliated state and local bar associations, will encourage its members and affiliates to volunteer with KIND and provide representation to unaccompanied children. NAPABA will also use its large network of attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students, and connections in the Asian Pacific American community to ensure that more APA children, and adults in positions to help them, know about KIND and are able access its services.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 63 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.