The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights gives students the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with unaccompanied immigrant children who come to the United States without a parent or legal guardian to flee violence, abuse, and/or poverty. Students in the clinic draw upon international human rights law, immigration law, and children's rights law to support their advocacy.

Unaccompanied immigrant children come to the U.S. from all corners of the world, on their own. They are apprehended—typically at the U.S./Mexico border—then detained and placed in deportation proceedings. Students serve the most vulnerable of these children, advocating for the best interests of each child on issues relating to care, custody, release, legal relief, and safe repatriation. Because there is no federal law that affords special protections to immigrant children, students rely on state child welfare laws and international human rights instruments to support their advocacy. The Clinic also offers opportunities in legislative and policy advocacy aimed at reforming the immigration system to better protect the rights of children.

Each student is trained to serve as federally-appointed Child Advocate (similar to a guardian ad litem role) for unaccompanied immigrant children detained in the Chicagoland area. Once appointed, students meet weekly with the child, and advocate on behalf of the child with the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, immigration judges, and asylum officers. The Clinic admits both 2Ls and 3Ls. We strongly encourage enrollment in the Fall Quarter and recommend taking this course for at least two quarters. We do not require students to speak a language other than English, but we encourage students who speak Spanish, French, Mandarin, Romanian, or American Sign Language to apply.

Students who enroll in the clinic must participate in (1) a two-day child advocate training that takes place over a weekend in the fall quarter and (2) weekly class meetings throughout the course.

Please contact the clinicians below if you have any questions, or would like to request an accommodation: Jajah Wu at xjwu@theyoungcenter.org, Kelly Albinak Kribs at kkribs@theyoungcenter.org, Marcy Phillips at mphillips@theyoungcenter.org, or Maria Woltjen at mwoltjen@theyoungcenter.org.

For more information, visit: www.TheYoungCenter.org.