Immigrant Justice Corps (“IJC”) is the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to expanding access to counsel by increasing the quantity and quality of the immigration bar. IJC is the visionary idea of Chief Judge Robert Katzmann, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in response to the crisis of inadequate and incompetent representation for immigrants that he saw every day as a federal judge.
IJC seeks to expand access to counsel by increasing the quantity of immigration lawyers and the quality of the immigration bar. Each year IJC recruits talented young lawyers (Justice Fellows) and college graduates (Community Fellows), many of whom are first-generation immigrants and bi-lingual graduates, from the country’s top universities, for a two-year fellowship. IJC trains Fellows to be experts in immigration law and pairs them with leading not-for-profit legal service providers and community based organizations in New York City, Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas to provide legal services to low-income immigrants. IJC Fellows provide a broad range of immigration services including deportation defense, applications for asylum, naturalization, green cards and other forms of relief available to juveniles and victims of crime, domestic violence or human trafficking.
Why our Work Matters
Immigration status is directly linked to economic well-being. Quality legal assistance can help immigrants improve their legal status which enables them to gain lawful employment, receive financial aid for school, access to health insurance and temporary benefits, and live stable, productive lives in the United States.
In addition, detention and deportation practices have further exacerbated the challenges immigrant families face. Between 2005 and 2010, the parents of over 7,000 U.S. citizen children were deported and over 10,000 were detained without bond, resulting in significant hardship and emotional trauma for these children. Preventing detention and deportation helps to keep families together which can also keep immigrant families from losing a primary breadwinner and children from being funneled into foster care or suffering educational or other disruptions.
IJC is infusing the legal profession with a new generation of lawyers and advocates committed to providing high quality representation and innovative thinking about the delivery of legal services to a vulnerable immigrant population.