We hope that through this annual report – our first – you will learn more about this forgotten group of undocumented children who are living in our midst. These children often have no parent or legal guardian to care for them, and are particularly vulnerable as a result. They have many needs – legal, physical, psychological, educational – that are not being met while they are in the United States and in immigration proceedings.
KIND is working to create a movement to help these children, first with their legal needs. Our movement includes deeply dedicated pro bono lawyers from law firms and corporations who volunteer to represent the children in their immigration proceedings. Lawyers and other volunteers from law schools, bar associations, and colleague nongovernmental organizations are also invaluable members of our movement. Without these committed volunteers, several thousand unaccompanied children would have to go to immigration court alone and would not have a fair chance to make their case for U.S. protection. Policymakers who work to change law, policy, and practice to guarantee that the best interests of the child is the principle that guides the care of unaccompanied children in the United States – they’re part of the movement, too. All are KIND’s partners in ensuring that these children are treated justly and that their unique vulnerabilities as children alone are taken into account.
It takes a great deal of passion, commitment, and focus to create and sustain a movement to bring about social change, but as you’ll see in these pages, KIND and its supporters are up to the task; we have been able to make tremendous strides on behalf of these children in just under two years. KIND was launched in October 2008 with a staff of six and a handful of unaccompanied child clients. By the end of December 2010, KIND was in the process of serving more than 2,500 children from more than 40 countries, and had grown to 25 staff. KIND has also been working to create a trained pool of pro bono attorneys to represent these children; KIND had trained nearly 1,900 lawyers by the end of 2010.
Hundreds of children’s lives have been changed – as well as the lives of many of our volunteers – forever; numerous children will be safe for the first time in their lives and have hope for a secure and productive future. We look forward to your participation in our movement to ensure the safety and well-being of unaccompanied children. Children, regardless of where they are from, deserve no less.
Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
Angelina Jolie, Actress and Humanitarian