KIND is launching a new initiative to help locate parents separated from their children and deported to Central America without their children and provide them with vital legal, social, and psychosocial services. The new Central America Family Reunification and Reintegration Initiative will include facilitating transnational reunification for children seeking to reunify with parents, referring parents and families to attorneys in the United States to represent them with civil rights and other legal claims, as well as to mental health services. It will also help families who have been reunified and deported but have significant protection concerns or other needs.
Many of these parents do not know where their child is in the United States or who can help them obtain information about their child; some fear that seeking assistance or asserting their parental rights may lead to criminal or other penalties. Other parents may be in communication with their child and the child’s Office of Refugee Resettlement caseworker, but do not know if their child has an attorney and how to communicate with that attorney to express their wishes and concerns regarding the child. Most, if not all, do not know how to reunify with their child or who can help to facilitate the reunification process.
KIND will coordinate work with civil society organizations, governments of the region, and intergovernmental organizations.
We will also provide children returning to Guatemala and Honduras return and reintegration services through our Child Migrant Return and Reintegration Project.
KIND will also continue its work to help separated parents and children in the United States. KIND stepped in early during this crisis to provide legal services to children separated from their parents to ensure that they have a fair chance to access the U.S. protections to which they are entitled. In addition, KIND has joined the national legal services effort to connect children to their parents, from whom they were abruptly separated. We are currently representing over 100 separated children.
Recognizing the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis, in late June, KIND deployed a legal team to Harlingen, Texas to conduct intakes and provide guidance to parents and other caretakers separated from their children being held at the Port Isabel Detention Center. Our team remains on the ground, providing information about the credible and reasonable fear interview process and how to seek review of a negative decision in immigration court. We have met with more than 200 adults and provided the majority with follow up visits. We also tried to help separated parents connect to their children by gathering information from parents who had no information about their child or who had not yet spoken to their child, and working with other legal services organizations across the country to help find the children.
For more information, please contact Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-631-9990