Non-profit

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

Website:

www.theyoungcenter.org/

Location:

Chicago, IL

Tax ID:

26-1839249

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $5,178,751
Expenses: $3,673,771
Assets: $1,651,224

Type:

Expansionist Immigration Advocacy

Executive Director:

Maria Woltjen

Formation:

2004

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to unaccompanied undocumented immigrant children. [1] The Center also also advocates for changes to U.S. immigration policy, and despite being ostensibly nonpartisan, the Center was critical of the Trump administration’s restrictionist immigration policies.

History

The Young Center was founded in 2004 with seed funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a “child advocate” program to represent children in immigration proceedings. [2] The Center is named after Young Zheng Sullivan, an unaccompanied Chinese minor who was detained while attempting to enter the United States. Sullivan was the Center’s first client, and he currently sits on its board of advisors. [3]

The Center was originally housed at the University of Chicago Law School, but it now has offices in Houston, San Antonio, and Harlingen, Texas, as well as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. [4][5]

Programs and Activities

Lawyers and social workers associated with the Young Center serve as guardians ad litem for unaccompanied immigrant children detained in the United States. The Center claims to have provided courtroom representation and other services for more than 3,750 undocumented immigrant children through 2019. [6]

The Center has also been a strident critic of U.S. immigration policy, especially during the restrictionist-inclined Trump administration. In May of 2020, the Center joined other organizations in protesting an order from the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shut down asylum proceedings along the U.S.-Mexico border, citing dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The groups called the move “reckless” and “farcical” and claimed that it resulted in the removal of 22,000 asylum seekers, including 1,000 unaccompanied children, to countries “where they face risk of kidnapping, rape, and murder.” [7] In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Young Center executive director Maria Woltjen accused the Trump administration of “quietly deporting children … with public health as the excuse.” [8]

In July 2019, Young Center policy director Jennifer Nagda testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee and criticized the Trump administration’s “family separation” policy, which separated children from their parents when families attempted to enter the United States illegally. Nagda called for separation decisions to be “made only by an independent professional who is trained in child welfare, child development, migration and immigration law, and trafficking concerns,” with immediate court review of the decision if the professional decided to separate children from their parents. [9] In June of 2020, the Center released a report accusing the Trump administration of ignoring a federal court order ending the family separation policy and continuing to separate children from parents on the basis of “spurious” allegations of criminal activity. [10]

Despite the Young Center’s continued criticism of the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security awarded the Center a $2.9 million contract to provide child advocacy services to undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers in August of 2020. [11]

Supporters and Donors

In 2020, actor Ryan Reynolds donated $1 million to the Young Center after he was criticized for holding his 2012 wedding to actress Blake Lively at a South Carolina plantation. [12] In 2018, actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal Clooney, donated $100,000 to the Young Center. [13]

The Center has received grants from left-of-center organizations including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation[14] and Chicago Community Trust. [15]

The Center has also received substantial contracts and grants from the federal government, including a $3 million grant in 2008 to expand its operations to several additional cities. [16]

References

  1. “2019 Annual Report.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/2019-annual-report?rq=annual%20report. ^
  2. “About the Young Center.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/about-the-young-center. ^
  3. “The Young Center is named for one of the first children we served, Young Zheng.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/named-for-young-zheng-sullivan. ^
  4. “Newsviews: Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.” ABC News 7 Chicago. July 1, 2018. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://abc7chicago.com/newsviews-young-center-for-immigrant-childrens-rights-university-of-chicago-u-c/3681079/. ^
  5. “About the Young Center.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/about-the-young-center. ^
  6. “2019 Annual Report.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/2019-annual-report?rq=annual%20report. ^
  7. “Human Rights Groups Urge Administration to Restore Legally-Required Humanitarian Protections at U.S. Border.” Human Rights First. May 27, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/human-rights-groups-urge-administration-restore-legally-required-humanitarian. ^
  8. Woltjen, Maria. “The White House Is Quietly Deporting Children.” New York Times. June 22, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/22/opinion/coronavirus-children-border-deportation.html. ^
  9. “Young Center’s Testimony on Continued Family Separation.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. July 16, 2019. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/stories/2019/7/16/young-centers-testimony-on-continued-family-separation. ^
  10. “Family Separation Is Not Over.” Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. June 25, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.theyoungcenter.org/report-family-separation-is-not-over. ^
  11. “Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded contract of CHILD ADVOCATE PROGRAM to YOUNG CENTER FOR IMMIGRANT CHILDREN’S RIGHTS, THE.” Contract Awards-Company Alerts. August 18, 2020. Accessed on Westlaw November 15, 2020. ^
  12. Desantis, Marissa. “Ryan Reynolds says he and Blake Lively are ‘deeply sorry’ for plantation wedding.” Evening Standard. August 4, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/celebrity/ryan-reynolds-blake-lively-plantation-wedding-apology-a4516546.html. ^
  13. Martin, Laura. “George and Amal Clooney hold a cute twin each as they leave private jet.” The Mirror. June 24, 2018. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/george-amal-clooney-hold-cute-12779755. ^
  14. “Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.” MacArthur Foundation. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.macfound.org/grantees/9496/. ^
  15. “Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.” Chicago Community Trust. Accessed November 15, 2020. https://www.cct.org/what-we-offer/grants/young-center-for-immigrant-childrena%C2%80%C2%99s-rights/. ^
  16. Bowen, Alison. “Immigration a long road for youths who enter U.S. alone.” Chicago Tribune. February 26, 2017. Accessed on Westlaw (2017 WLNR 6102524) November 15, 2020. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: September - August
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Sep Form 990 $5,178,751 $3,673,771 $1,651,224 $146,244 N $5,155,094 $1,120 $0 $150,567 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

    2245 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 301
    Chicago, IL 60616-2126