Expansion Plans for Immigration Program With Microsoft Roots | KUOW News and Information

Expansion Plans for Immigration Program With Microsoft Roots

Oct 21, 2015

Expansion plans are underway for an immigration program linked to Microsoft, but it's something that has nothing to do with computers or technology.

It’s a non-profit called KIND, or Kids In Need of Defense, and it provides free attorneys to immigrant children who face deportation.

Microsoft co-founded the program in 2009, along with actress Angelina Jolie.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said this effort to take on the court cases of immigrant children really struck a chord in his office.

“They [migrant children] don’t have a chance if they don’t have a lawyer by their side. We have represented kids who are as young as two and three years old,” Smith said. "Imagine a three-year-old trying to explain to a judge why he or she should be entitled to stay in the United States.”

The KIND legal program works with children who are caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone, without a parent. Most are fleeing violence, drug gangs and abuse in Central America.

This influx of children reached record highs in recent years, with more than 100,000 cases in the past two years.

KIND currently operates in eight cities, including Seattle, and will expand to two more.

KIND says the organization has handled cases for more than 8,000 children since it started.