Trump Administration Ending AmeriCorps Legal Aid Program For Unaccompanied Children, But UNLV Law’s Work Continues

Monday, June 12, 2017

From Immigration Clinic Director Michael Kagan:

We received official word today that the federal government will phase out the AmeriCorps initiative that has provided lawyers for thousands of unaccompanied children nationally. UNLV was one of the first AmeriCorps sites to offer legal aid to unaccompanied minors who otherwise would be alone in Immigration Court, facing lawyers from the Department of Homeland Security and a complex body of law that bewilders many practicing attorneys. 

Our formal AmeriCorps project will end October 31. But on November 1, we will continue representing immigrant children with as much dedication and creativity as ever. We can continue this work because Edward M. Bernstein & Associates has donated $250,000 over five years. We have received significant support from an anonymous donor as well.

I am grateful for the investment that the Boyd School of Law and Dean Dan Hamilton has made in this work. I especially want to note that UNLV students have stepped up, offering to help our clients, often without receiving any academic credit. Our partners at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada (LACSN) have been remarkable.

Our work for immigrant children is a centerpiece of the UNLV Immigration Clinic. It has expanded the experiences that we have been able to provide our students, and it embodies the community service for which the Boyd School of Law has been known. The AmeriCorps program got this started. The support we have received from the community is allowing us to keep going.