Washington, DC —KIND welcomes the Biden Administration’s announcement of the expansion of additional legal pathways, including the commitment to double the number of refugees from the Americas, the creation of a new family reunification parole process for certain countries, and the new regional processing centers in Colombia and Guatemala. These are welcome steps toward creating humane and orderly avenues to protection for those in danger, including children, but they will take time to implement. As we approach the end of the harmful Title 42 policy on May 11, the Administration must also act now to implement additional protections for unaccompanied children to ensure their safety.
“Giving those in danger in their home countries the opportunity to apply for protection in the region will be a vital lifeline that provides an alternative to the life-threatening journey north to seek safety,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “In tandem with the creation of regional processing centers, the Administration should expand access to the Central American Minors program to allow children to apply for resettlement in third countries and enhance protections for unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border. These measures are particularly important as we approach the welcome end of Title 42, and include: hiring child welfare professionals to screen and care for children at Customs and Border Protection facilities; co-locating Department of Health and Human Services specialists at the border to create efficiencies in processing of children; and enhancing coordination between U.S. and Mexican officials to support a bilateral mechanism for the safe transfer of unaccompanied children to the United States when it is in their best interests.
The end of Title 42 offers the Administration many opportunities to expand protections for those seeking safety. We urge it to continue to take advantage of this time to create a truly humane, fair, and orderly U.S. refugee and immigration system and reject polices that would do just the opposite, such as the egregious proposed asylum ban, which would create barriers to asylum for those individuals traveling through third countries and expose them to great harm.”
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, email@example.com, 202-631-9990