Public Education and Outreach

Helping Separated Children and Families

The family separation crisis is far from over. Hundreds of families remain torn apart with no clear plan for their reunification. Parents and children face lasting trauma as a result of their sudden, and in many cases, ongoing separation. Limited access to counsel, frequent facility transfers, deportation, and coercion have impeded the ability of thousands of parents and children to learn about their legal rights and to have their claims for humanitarian protection fully and fairly heard.

This due process emergency poses profound consequences for separated children. The federal government must not only promptly facilitate physical reunification but must do so in a way that does not limit the children’s legal rights or their access to due process.

KIND urges the government to respect children’s legal rights and process their immigration cases in the following ways:

Legal Rights for Separated Children

Reunifying Separated Family Members

KIND’s Myth vs. Facts

Flores Settlement   Family Separation

Children first and foremost

Regardless of where they are from or their immigration status, unaccompanied children need and deserve to be protected as children first and foremost. We attempt to broaden understanding of these children among a range of stakeholders and the public by educating them about experiences that forced these children out of their communities and drove them to come alone to the United States; the lack of fair access to the U.S. protection system after they arrive; and the potential dangers that many of these children face upon return to their home country. Towards this goal, we work with the White House, Capitol Hill, and federal agencies to help ensure that unaccompanied children receive fair and appropriate treatment while in the U.S. immigration system.

Advocacy Fact Sheet

 

How the Trump Administration is Rolling Back Protections for Children

Since its first days, the Trump Administration has sought to limit protections for some of the most vulnerable migrants seeking protection in this country—unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children.  These protections, which were carefully crafted over nearly 15 years through bipartisan dialogue and collaboration in Congress, are grounded in basic child welfare principles. These procedural protections recognize that a child who has taken a life-threatening journey of hundreds, if not thousands, of miles—without a parent or legal guardian—is uniquely at-risk and should be treated in ways that help promote fundamental fairness in helping the child access the U.S. immigration system to ensure that we do not return a child to the often life-threatening harm they have fled.

Timeline of Rollbacks
Report: Death by a Thousand Cuts

Capitol Hill Outreach

KIND works to ensure that legislation in Congress addresses the needs of unaccompanied children and improves their protection.

Currently KIND is working to secure resources and federal funding for unaccompanied immigrant children in the President’s Budget Request and the Fiscal Year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services; and State and Foreign Operations and Related Agencies appropriations bills.

KIND is also supports legislation and appropriations that improves the protection of unaccompanied children.

Legislation:

Administrative Outreach

KIND works with federal agencies to ensure that policy, practice, and procedure reflect the protections unaccompanied children are granted under U.S. law.

KIND advocates for the full implementation of the William Wilberforce Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. Many of the provisions of this bill are key to ensuring the safety, well-being, and fair treatment of unaccompanied children in the United States.

October 2016: Recommendations for the Next Administration: Improving the Protection and Fair Treatment of Unaccompanied Children

 

Public Education Materials

 

September 2018: KIND’s Statement for the Record for U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on “The Implications of the Reinterpretation of the Flores Settlement Agreement for Border Security and Illegal Immigration Incentives”

May 2018: KIND joined with NGO’s in the U.S. and Central America in a letter sent to Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, opposing Mexico as a ‘Safe’ Third Country

May 2018KIND released a report detailing how the Trump Administration is rolling back protections for children. These protections, which were carefully crafted over nearly 15 years through bipartisan dialogue and collaboration in Congress, are grounded in basic child welfare principles.

September 12, 2017: KIND joined 350 other organizations in a letter sent to the House of Representatives opposing the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, (H.R. 3697). 

September 8, 2017: The Building America’s Trust Act of 2017 (S.1757), introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and six co-sponsors on August 3, cruelly and needlessly deprives child refugees of due process and decreases protections for the most vulnerable.  The bill drastically alters due process protections for unaccompanied children and child refugees and threatens to return children to persecution and harm in their home countries.

June 21, 2017: KIND submitted a joint statement for the record with LIRS and WRC on The Protection of Children Act of 2017, H.R. 495 for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on June 21, 2017.

September 20, 2016: KIND participated in a U.N. Shadow Summit which looked at the U.S. response to Central American refugees in its own backyard, specifically the policy response to unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America.

July 27, 2016: Read KIND’s response to the Obama Administration’s expansion of the refugee resettlement processing program.

February 24, 2016: Following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue, policy experts gathered today to discuss the current state of play of the humanitarian crisis brewing in Central America and outline steps the U.S. can and should take to ensure due process protections for those seeking asylum, as well as to address the root causes of the instability causing them to flee.

February 4, 2016: Read and listen to KIND’s response to a House Immigration Subcommittee meeting on conditions in Central America.

June 22, 2015: Read KIND’s review of the Administrations handling of the child and family refugee situation and recommendations for moving forward.

March 10, 2015: KIND wrote the following letter urging Senators to oppose Senator Inhofe’s amendment 276 to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (S.178):

February 11, 2015: KIND, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), submitted a statement for a hearing on immigration enforcement legislation for the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security:

 

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