Providing recent arrivals and highly vulnerable immigrant youth with the necessary tools for survival in transitioning through the U.S. immigration system. We achieve this by providing services for at-risk including legal services, tutoring, case management, and creative workshops.
We support Casa Libre’s efforts to secure the release of detained minors and provide social mobility services for immigrant youth. The target population is highly vulnerable and possesses few rights. Casa Libre is a place where formerly homeless and incarcerated undocumented minors can find safe haven and refuge, and finally be treated as human beings, rather than being made invisible, or locked up as if a threat to society or national security. Casa Libre is Ellis Island for the youth it serves and we fully support its important role in our community.
These are extraordinarily dangerous times for unaccompanied immigrant minors often detained for weeks at a time in unsafe and unsanitary U.S. border patrol facilities, and for months in secure Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities. In the past several months, five migrant children have died while in U.S. custody. Illness is widespread due to the unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. Youth are forced to sleep on concrete floors in over-crowded cells and cages. All detained minors are Flores class members entitled to treatment consistent with the terms of the Flores settlement which sets the national standards for the detention and release of detained migrant children. which sets the national standards for the detention and release of detained migrant children. The LA-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law represents the class of all detained minors and is constantly engaged in federal court in Los Angeles challenging the current administration’s violations of the terms of the Flores settlement.
Many detained unaccompanied minors have sponsors in L.A. County and surrounding areas, and want to come here if and when released from custody. However, when transported to an ICE adult detention facility reach eighteen years of age, they are shackled, transported to an ICE adult detention facility, and may be promptly deported to countries where their lives are at risk.
International Institute of Los Angeles
Chief Executive Officer
Jocelyn Duarte Executive Director
Clinica Monsenor Oscar Romero
Carlos Vaquerano Executive Director
This assault on highly vulnerable and traumatized children is being fought at many levels: in the courts, advocacy in Congress, and in protests outside detention centers. In Los Angeles, the Casa Libre program is doing its part by securing the release of detained minors, blocking their deportation, and providing them social mobility programs and a range of wrap-around services.
Casa Libre has never backed away from its commitment to serve unaccompanied minors living on the streets in Los Angeles County or detained by federal authorities. It focuses on securing the release of unaccompanied minors close to their 18th birthdays, at which time, if not released, they are transferred to an ICE adult detention center and then almost always deported.
Due to the recent increase in the need for a range of services, Casa Libre has formed a partnership with Clinica Monseñor Oscar Romero and the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund (SALEF) to provide a broad range of services for Casa Libre participants.
As non-profits, grassroots organizations, academic leaders, and community members that work with the immigrant population throughout Los Angeles, we support the efforts taking place at Casa Libre to increase capacity and assist current and future members. We support Casa Libre's efforts to secure the release of detained minors and provide services for homeless and released minors.
Michelle M. Seyler, J.D. Executive Director
East LA College
Chicanx Studies Dept.
Cal State U. Northridge
Central American Studies Dept.
Social Mobility Services
The overall goal of the program is to assist immigrant and at-risk youth in our communities to achieve stability, safe housing, and maximize their access to continuing education. Our workshops have included a range of subjects to encourage and enhance participants' educational and vocational abilities, self-esteem, leadership, and interpersonal skills.
Supportive services begin with an in-depth assessment of each new community member and their needs. Through information obtained during initial intake and subsequent follow-up with youth members, we learn what the most significant issues our community is facing are and plan programs on how to combat these issues. The participation of at-risk youth in goal setting regarding education and/or employment is a critical component of the program. Youth are encouraged to set realistic and attainable goals for themselves, consistent with their interests and abilities.
Supportive services are made available to assist youth in the implementation of their individualized personal plans, including:
Basic life skills training
Interpersonal skills development
Educational testing and placement
These services have been provided by our program to assist and guide our immigrant and at-risk youth to achieve longterm stability and to maximize the fulfilment of their opportunities.
Family reunification services
LA Unacompanied Minors Collaborative
Casa Libre, the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund (SALEF), Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero (COR), and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) have created a collaboration to help assist unaccompanied immigrant minors to integrate into the life of the City and County of Los Angeles and surrounding areas and help connect these minors with community support networks. This collaborative group is called the Los Angeles Unaccompanied Minors Collaborative (LA-UMC).
LA-UMC seeks to strengthen and protect the rights of unaccompanied immigrant minors in federal detention hoping to come to Los Angeles, and provide for the social, educational, housing, medical, and family reunification needs of these minors.
Immigrant youth need your support
Board of Directors
Peter Schey, Esq. | Father Richard Estrada | Rev. Jennifer Gutierrez | Paule Cruz Takash | Jocelyn Duarte, M.A.
Richard Ashbee | Joseph Chicas, MSW | Zerihoun Yilma | Gabriel F. Merino | Harry Salzberg, Esq. | Alex Sanchez
In light of current federal policies aimed at blocking immigrant minor’s release from custody, which has skyrocketed the population of immigrant minors, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, held in federal custody, Casa Libre will focus substantial time and resources on securing the release of as many minors in federal custody as possible. Consistent with its capacity, Casa Libre will make ongoing efforts to build upon and strengthen the relationship it has established with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to better facilitate the release of minors in 2020.
In light of current federal policies aimed at blocking immigrant minor’s
release from custody, hundreds of detained Central American minors,
now face turning 18 (“aging out”) while in ORR custody which results in
the minor being transferred to an adult Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) detention center, often losing their right to apply for
Special Immigrant Juvenile status (SIJ) or any other relief from
deportation. Consistent with its capacity, Casa Libre will focus on securing
the release of as many minors in federal custody as possible who are
close to aging out and being transferred to ICE custody and deported.
Timeline and Resources
Contributors & Donors
Individual & Family Donors
Harry Salzberg | Nancy Cox | Juanita Ulloa | Joan Turner | David Green | Odile Legeay
Jude Pardee | Laura Okazaki | Chris Mullen | Jennifer Lester | Elizabeth Lowenhaupt
Clay Slate | Sara McDaniel | Jose C. Reyther | Gregory Chandler | Philip & Sharen Lom