Immigrant children, whether immigrants themselves or born to immigrant parents, lack the protections and security that could promote their safety, well-being, and future. With more than 14,000 unaccompanied children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and over one million undocumented children under eighteen, immigrant children make up the fastest growing segment of U.S. children population today. America’s immigration reforms must take into account the special needs of these children, who have historically been excluded from important and life changing U.S. immigration policy decisions. Human Rights Initiative stands as the only agency in North Texas that provides free legal services to undocumented children fending for themselves in Immigration courts. As advocates for children, HRI urges Congress and the Administration to include these principles in immigration reform:
- A clear pathway to citizenship. This must be open, affordable and easily accessible.
- Protection and promotion of children’s fundamental rights. This will ensure a child’s access to critical services for their support and well being, including legal representation before immigration authorities.
- Ensure that enforcement efforts have appropriate protection for children. This should protect the best interests of the children going through investigations and inquiries, providing a humanitarian approach and safe environment for children in custody or released from it.
- Keep families together. These policies should prohibit lengthy family separation during admission and removal decisions.
This post was written by Kat Sullivan, our Marketing Intern.