New York, NY — Safe Passage Project, a New York-based legal services organization, announced today that it has been awarded a grant by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. This generous grant will provide Safe Passage Project with support to expand legal defense of children being targeted for deportation on Long Island.
The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of the vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. The Foundation, named in memory of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, originated from the sale of Fidelis Care, a non-profit health insurer started and operated by the Bishops of the Catholic Dioceses of New York.
“Mother Cabrini spent her life devoted to those who faced the greatest struggles, and the Foundation named in her honor is proudly carrying on her legacy,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo.
Last year, more than 70,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the U.S. Southern Border. While the majority of these children have a path to legal status under current U.S. law, they are not provided with a court-appointed lawyer. According to data from Syracuse University’s TRAC Program, without legal representation, immigrant children have only a 17% chance of success in court, despite eligibility for relief under United States immigration law.
The situation facing unaccompanied minors on Long Island is particularly dire. There are up to 1,500 vulnerable child refugees facing deportation – about equal to the number in New York City. But the prospects of finding a lawyer there are far less likely. To address the needs of these vulnerable children, Safe Passage Project specializes in recruiting, training and mentoring pro bono attorneys to become adept in representing immigrant youth.
“Safe Passage Project is the largest provider of legal services to unaccompanied minors on Long Island, but we have a long way to go to close the gap,” said Executive Director Rich Leimsider. “This grant will be critical to expanding our legal services on Long Island.”
Since its founding, Safe Passage Project has taken on full representation of over 1,700 unaccompanied immigrant children, and has maintained a success rate of over 80%. The funds provided by Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will enable Safe Passage Project to accelerate its Long Island growth.