Washington, DC – As President Biden addresses his first joint session of Congress tonight, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) welcomes the President’s reported focus on immigration and urges his administration to transform the U.S. immigration system to one that is fundamentally fair and orderly, ensures protection while maintaining safety, and is humane.
“The Biden Administration has a singular opportunity to re-envision our immigration system that includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and a firm commitment that unaccompanied children are provided lawyers in their deportation proceedings,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Children alone need and deserve a fair chance to make their case for U.S. protection and can only do so with attorneys by their side.”
Vice President Harris signaled the Biden Administration’s support for counsel for children in remarks to Univision in January, stating that the administration would “ensure that children who arrive at the border have legal counsel, legal representation so we can make sure they receive due process and they’re treated fairly.”
Restoring the U.S. resettlement system, which enables those in grave danger in another country to seek refugee status from abroad and protection in the United States, is also vital, including for children in Central America through the newly reinstated Central American Minors program.
Young notes that KIND, which has issued recommendations for President Biden’s first 100 days in office, also remains committed to pushing implementation of those comprehensive reforms to protect children on the move alone.
“This administration has the opportunity to put in place lasting immigration reforms that will restore the United States as a leader in the protection of refugees, including ensuring the safety of unaccompanied children. We urge President Biden and his team to act boldly in the pursuit of these reforms,” Young concluded.
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