MLOV works to free “Unaccompanied Minors” from detention and reunite them with their families in the District. This work arose organically from conversations with community members who were separated from their children at the border or anticipated the arrival of unaccompanied children. MLOV collaborates extensively with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to expedite the release of detained children. Once freed, we connect these youth with mental health and rape crisis services, if needed.

Since 2019, we have liberated over 58 children and reduced the average time they spend in overcrowded detention centers from 100 to 12 days. With the COVID-19 crisis, we have partnered with Sanctuary DMV to campaign for the closure of the ICA-Farmville immigrant detention center in Virginia so that community members may safely self-quarantine.

Additionally, we support newly-arrived families to access education, housing, and health insurance and provide them with assistance to create Family Safety Plans. We also accompany families fearful of picking up their children at airports and bus stations alone. Finally, our staff provides technical assistance and follow-up for over 50 immigration cases a year, including asylum and naturalization applications.

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