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Jolie helps launch legal center for refugee kids

Actress has given more than $3 million to aid refugees
/ Source: The Associated Press

In a town filled with big names and egos jostling for the spotlight, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie drew crowds, turned heads and had cameras flashing.

The Oscar-winning actress came to the nation’s capital Tuesday to promote a favorite cause: aiding refugees. She’s given more than $3 million to the effort, including $500,000 to help bankroll an organization that will provide free legal aid to the thousands of children who arrive alone to the United States each year as refugees and immigrants.

In a speech at the National Press Club, she outlined plans for the Washington-based National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, expected to open shop this spring. It will be jointly run by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

It will recruit and train lawyers nationwide to work pro bono for young arrivals — often victims of trafficking or abuse — who must navigate the U.S. court system without a parent or guardian.

“I can’t believe that any of us would expect that it’s reasonable to send a child to face this by themselves,” Jolie said. “I actually think it’s cruel.”

The 29-year-old is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nation’s refugee agency and the mother of Cambodia-born Maddox, whom she adopted. She said she plans to adopt again and her son wants an “African brother.”

After the Press Club appearance, Jolie met on Capital Hill with lawmakers regarding refugee funding and legislation.

Asked if she would ever seek public office, Jolie said, “I think I’ve got too many skeletons in my closet for politics.”