WASHINGTON, D.C. — KIND rejects the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Families and Children Care Panel emergency interim report that proposes sweeping and detrimental changes to the treatment, processing, and care of children and families at the border. Far from protecting children and preventing them from undertaking dangerous journeys to the U.S., as the report asserts, these recommendations risk further harm and trauma, and the return of thousands of children to harm, danger, and death.
“While the HSAC report rightfully shines a light on the need for improvements to ensure our immigration system’s ability to meet the unique needs of children and families, it leaves in the dark the ways in which the Administration’s policies—and its very recommendations—threaten the safety and lives of those coming to the U.S. to ask for protection,” said KIND President Wendy Young.
While KIND was consulted as an expert by the Panel in its preparation of the report and shared recommendations for ensuring the safety, health, and best interests of children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Panel’s resulting recommendations do not at all reflect those of KIND. Instead they mirror President Trump’s January 2017 Executive Orders and the Administration’s continued embrace of harsh enforcement measures, increased detention, and new restrictions on asylum in an effort to deter migration by children and families.
Among the report’s recommendations are several proposals that would severely undermine due process, including limits on where asylum seekers can request protection, rapid timelines for adjudicating asylum cases, and expanded detention of families while their claims for protection are evaluated. The report also urges the creation of a bilateral agreement with Mexico that would foreclose access to asylum in the U.S. by asylum-seeking families from Central America and instead require that they seek such protection in Mexico.
“Children and families face and are fleeing life-threatening violence in Central America. Rather than ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable while in our government’s care and the fair consideration of their cases for legal protection, the report’s recommendations further stack the deck against them and speed their return to danger and even death,” said Young.
“Meaningfully addressing the migration of children and families demands that we look at what is driving them to flee their homes and countries–not to close our country’s doors to those in need.”
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