Shout-out to ICARE in Times editorial

On December 18, 2016 The New York Times published an editorial, “Proud to Be a Sanctuary City” that cites a “groundbreaking City Council program”. We know this program as ICARE and we are proud to be part of this program and be responsible for some of the 1,265 cases mentioned in this piece.

For the full article visit The New York Times Editorials, or here.

Letter to City Council Speaker signed by Safe Passage receives press attention

In an article published on December 7, 2016, “‘Broken windows’ policing could hand city’s immigrants over to Trump, lawyers say” Crain’s examines speculation of what life for immigrants might be like under Trump. In particular, Crain’s focuses on how the city will behave as a “sanctuary-city” and how low-level arrests might mean deportation.

The article contains the joint letter to Speaker Mark-Viverito signed by Rich Leimsider, Executive Director, on behalf of Safe Passage along with leaders from Brooklyn Defender Services, The Legal Aid Society, The Bronx Defenders, Central American Legal Assistance, The Door and Catholic Charities Community Services, who together write to say “The NYPD’s high-arrest policies thus effectively provide the federal government with ready-made lists of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers whose humanity, family and community ties, and even lawful residency, can be undermined simply because they bear the label of ‘criminal’ for the most paltry alleged offenses.”

Read the article and our letter in its entirety on Crain’s, or here.

Safe Passage honored on Jezebel, Medium & RageDonate

As an early holiday present, Safe Passage received shout outs from several different websites. Check them out here:

Jezebel with “10 More Causes That Deserve Your Time and Money on Giving Tuesday” and “A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support“.

Medium with “A Christmas Gift List for ‘Woke’ Santas and Maybe Even You

And on RageDonate

We’re very excited and humbled to receive this attention, so thank you to Jezebel, Medium and RageDonate. Check them out and join us in celebrating the buzz.

Happy Holidays from Safe Passage!


Please join us in taking a moment to reflect upon the last year. 2016 has offered so many opportunities for us to learn and grow here at Safe Passage Project, and we want to thank you for your support.
Highlights from 2016

-Helped 52 Youth Receive Green Cards
– Helped 16 Youth Obtain Prosecutorial Discretion
– Hosted an incredible World Refugee Day
– Organized and Executed two Field Days at Riverdale Country School
– Worked with over 412 pro bono attorneys
– Hired our first Full-time Executive Director
– Opened a Satellite Office on Long Island
– Partnered with two new fellowship organizations
Screened 297 youth in immigration court or at our offices
Assisted more than 590 children – working with them to ensure they do not have to face immigration court alone.

We are grateful for the incredible clients and pro bono attorneys we were able to work with this year. And we are humbled by the press attention we have received in recent months. We encourage you to check out Jezebel, RageDonate and other year end lists that have graciously promoted us and went out of their way to acknowledge and support organizations dedicated to social good.

Entering the new year we are excited to keep serving our clients, take on new clients, and bring more voices like yours on board to our mission—especially given the uncertain political climate. Closing 2016 we are in need of additional resources to continue to assist as many immigrant youth as we can. Please consider making a donation today. A contribution of $50 covers the the cost of a child’s travel to and from court and to meet her attorney. $1000 covers legal and social work expenses for one child for six months.

We greatly appreciate all of the good things that came our way in 2016. We could not do what we do without the sustained support of generous donors.

Wishing you a great finish to 2016,

The Safe Passage Project Team


Attorney of the Week


Safe Passage is excited to announce that this week’s Attorney of the Week is Sam Koch. And special thank you to Ruthie Abel for her photography of Sam.

It was Sam’s passion for working with children that brought him to Safe Passage—prior to law school Sam taught at an elementary school in Harlem. And in his own words, when it comes to working with kids, “there’s nothing more rewarding”.

When Sam started his pro bono work with us, he had never worked on immigration law before, but now he lists this experience among the most rewarding of his legal career. Entering this process, the recognition of how important his contributions would be to his client’s immigration status made him nervous. However, reflecting on his experience he explained, “the staff at Safe Passage put my fears to rest…Because of their help, [I] felt confident in my ability to advocate for my client, and [I] felt prepared for each court appearance.”

Sam considers this experience a prime example of lawyers’ unique ability to empower others. Looking back, Sam considers that even for him—after having gone to law school, passing the bar, clerking for a judge, and working for a law firm that provides great training—there are rules and procedures underlying our judicial system that he still has difficulty navigating. In his words, he “can’t imagine how scary it would be to try to navigate all that as a non-lawyer or without representation, let alone for a child that just arrived in this country.”

And now, with this experience under his belt, Sam is looking forward to giving back more. He describes his new knowledge of the SIJS process and recognition of his abilities to navigate these legal systems as motivation to keep serving. And after seeing how overloaded Safe Passage’s docket is, how many children out there need help from qualified attorneys, and having such a wonderful experience with his client and her family, he wants to make sure he’s putting his qualifications to good use.

Coming out of this process Sam has something he wants to share with other lawyers thinking of doing pro bono work with Safe Passage: “Don’t worry if, like me, you have no previous experience with immigration law. Safe Passage is there for you! The staff is patient and responsive; they’ll answer all your questions and do whatever it takes to make sure you feel prepared to advocate effectively for your client.”

Thank you Sam, for your hard work and dedication—we look forward to working more with you in the future!

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