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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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October 17, 2008 6:13 AM

Microsoft partners with law firms, Angelina Jolie to help illegal immigrant kids

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft and law firms in nine cities today launched an effort to help illegal immigrant children with legal representation.

My colleague Lornet Turnbull has a story on the effort, Kids in Need of Defense, in today's paper. An excerpt:

"Last year, about 8,000 illegal-immigrant children with no official adult supervision were processed in immigration court. They came from all over the world -- the majority from Central America -- some fleeing untold horror and abuse."

Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said the company "wanted to focus on children who have been separated from their families and are in particular needy circumstances. For children who have no one to speak on their behalf, a lawyer is a lifeline to protection."

More from the story:

"Microsoft already helps to fund a program called Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice, which screens adults and children to determine their eligibility for asylum or other legal status, and trains attorneys to represent them as they work through the system.

"Because of it, Washington is the only state in the country where every immigrant child is represented by an attorney in immigration court, Microsoft's Smith said. KIND would immediately expand that to eight other large U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, New York, Newark, N.J., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C."

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