WASHINGTON — Today, Congress passed a temporary appropriations bill to fund the federal government through mid-December, including $1.8 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) calls on ORR to allocate the funding to critical operations and services for unaccompanied children and refugees, including support for children’s legal representation.
“Children without a lawyer stand almost no chance of receiving due process in the U.S. immigration system,” said Wendy Young, President of Kids in Need of Defense. “This vital funding for ORR demonstrates Congress’s continuing commitment to programs that support and protect unaccompanied children and refugees seeking safety in the United States. ORR now has the means to expand legal representation of unaccompanied children, an action that will also strengthen the efficiency of the nation’s overburdened immigration courts.”
Even before the appropriations bill passed, the Biden Administration affirmed that it “recognizes the value of providing direct legal representation for [unaccompanied children], as these children represent a particularly vulnerable population that needs dedicated support to navigate the complex immigration court system.”
KIND is the leading provider of counsel to unaccompanied children in the United States and advocates for their protection not only in the United States, but also in Central America, Mexico, and Europe, as these children travel in search of safety.
Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990
Meredith MacKenzie de Silva, email@example.com, (202) 412-4270