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Stephanie Heredia is a Research Assistant with MPI’s Human Services Initiative, where she works on issues including refugee resettlement, unaccompanied children’s services, and access to benefits and services for immigrant children and families.
Prior to joining MPI, Ms. Heredia worked with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition as a legal assistant providing legal services to detained and recently detained immigrant children in the Washington, DC area. Prior to relocating to the Washington, DC area, she was a graduate student and Spanish-language instructor in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon graduation, she also served as a Junior Fellow in the Library of Congress' Hispanic Division.
Ms. Heredia holds a master’s degree in Latin American and hemispheric studies from The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, and a BA in history and Hispanic studies from The College of William and Mary. During her graduate studies, she served as the Citizen Security intern for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Latin American Program and worked as a legal assistant at L&L Immigration Law, PLLC, where she conducted casework for asylum seekers principally from the Northern Triangle and Venezuela.
While record monthly arrivals of unaccompanied minors in early 2021 have drawn considerable attention, important questions surround what happens once the children are released from federal custody to parents or other sponsors. This report examines federal post-release services, support needs among children and sponsors, how service providers are meeting these needs, and ways to improve services—to the benefit of the children and the communities in which they live.