Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14070148 (posted Jul. 28, 2014)"
The escalation in the movement of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) over the last four years is a regional humanitarian crisis born from the rapid growth in crime, violence and poverty that has affected Mexico and several Central American countries for many years. Although the United States is the largest country in the region, with the most developed asylum and humanitarian protection regime, this humanitarian crisis is affecting the entire Central American region.
The Obama administration's recent statements have placed far greater emphasis on deterrence of migration than on the importance of protection of children seeking safety. (AILA Doc. No. 14063043.) At a time when the region is confronted with a major humanitarian crisis, the United States cannot compromise on fundamental principles of compassion, fairness, and due process, nor on international refugee protection obligations. AILA President Leslie Holman comments, "Our country's reaction to this crisis is going to echo through the lives of these children and their families for generations, and actions to throw them out will be a stain on our history long after this Administration is gone."
AILA Member Action Items
- Unaccompanied Children Legal Call to Action: AILA is seeking members who may be willing (but not obligated) to provide pro bono legal services to unaccompanied children at the southern border, once the specific legal process and need for lawyers becomes clearer. (7/3/2014) (AILA Doc. No. 14070348.)
- AILA Member LTE Template on Unaccompanied Children: AILA members are urged to personalize and use this template Letter to the Editor (LTE) in response to articles mentioning the surge of unaccompanied children seeking refuge from violence and turmoil. (7/3/2014) (AILA Doc. No. 14070343.)
- Practice Resources to Help Children and Families: a compilation of both AILA resources and other organization resources to help attorneys provide pro bono legal services in the United States to unaccompanied children and families affected by the Central American Humanitarian Crisis. (AILA Doc. No. 14072246.)
Recent News (Updated 7/8/2014)
- RAICES letter to President Obama on the ability of UACs at the HHS Lackland facility to apply for relief and the importance of TVPRA protections (7/18/14)
- Law Professors Letter of Fairness for Central American Children (7/15/2014) (AILA Doc. No. 14071541.)
- “Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions,” a report from the Migration Policy Institute. (7/15/2014)
- "Children in Danger: A Guide to the Humanitarian Challenge at the Border,” a report from the American Immigration Council (7/10/14)
- "Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central American and Mexico and the Need for International Protection," a report from UNHCR. (3/2014)
- Rights of Children in the Immigration Process,” a report from the American Civil Liberties Union (7/7/14)
- “Talking About Unaccompanied Refugee Children Fleeing Harm,” a report from the Opportunity Agenda (7/8/14)
- “Step-by-Step Guide on Apprehension and Detention of Juveniles in the United States,” a report from the Women’s Refugee Commission (7/3/14)
- "Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors," a report from Appleseed (2011).
- CRS Report with FAQs on Legal Issues of UACs, including difference between UACs and special immigrant juvenile status, the Flores settlement, custody issues, and rights of UACs. (6/27/14) (AILA Doc. No. 14071648.)