The Protecting Immigrant Families and Improving Immigration Procedures Act of 2019 introduced June 5 by Senator Dianne Feinstein and co-sponsored by Senators Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono, and Amy Klobuchar upholds key protections for unaccompanied children that will ensure their safety and fair treatment in the United States.
“Senator Feinstein’s bill would go a long way in protecting unaccompanied children, including by providing them with attorneys in their immigration proceedings,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Attorneys are vital to ensuring that these children have a meaningful chance to make their case for U.S. protection and that we do not send them back to grave harm or even death.”
The bill shields the Flores Settlement Agreement from nullification by the Trump Administration, ensuring that children are not held for indefinite periods in punitive and inhumane conditions.
KIND continues to work with numerous children forcibly separated from their parents, and welcomes the incorporation into the bill of the Keep Families Together Act, which mandates that no families can be separated at the U.S. border without good cause as determined by a state official or child welfare expert.
Adding 75 additional immigration judge teams will also help greatly with the immigration court backlog, which is particularly harmful to children as lengthy proceedings contribute to the instability in their lives.
“KIND thanks Senator Feinstein for her staunch leadership on unaccompanied children’s issues and for her deep concern about the welfare of these particularly vulnerable children,” Young said.
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