The government pays for migrant children’s lawyers. Challenge the government, and they can lose their funding

The U.S. refugee agency that cares for children who have crossed the border alone has for years threatened to cut off funding to legal advocates if they challenge a child’s detention or placement in juvenile jails, according to attorneys who have worked within the system.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Patrick Michels
Reveal News
November 13, 2018

Tags: Funding: Federal, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Vera Institute of Justice, HIAS Pennsylvania


The nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, which oversees the grant program, says it serves 50,000 children a year who have crossed the border without a guardian. Vera is a nonprofit based in New York and funded mostly by government grants worth more than $50 million a year.

But according to court documents and lawyers who have worked for these grant-funded groups, the refugee agency has made it clear that they should not challenge the government in court over its decisions to keep holding children or to place them in a secure lockup or psychiatric treatment home.