February 12, 2015
To say that this is an extraordinary time to be working with unaccompanied children would be an understatement. The numbers of these children coming to the United States have been rising significantly since October 2011, escalating further throughout this year, reaching historic levels by December 2014.
The majority of these children were fleeing violent gangs, many of which were forcibly recruiting children, threatening and attacking those who refused to join. These children felt that they had no choice but to come to the United States and seek protection.
KIND supporters rose to the occasion, volunteering additional time, attorneys, and other resources to help KIND reach more children, who were being referred to us in large numbers and very quickly. The stakes for these children are very high — life or death in many cases — and thanks to our supporters, more have attorneys to protect them from being sent back to grave harm.
In addition to facilitating legal representation, KIND has been advocating for increased protections for these children, including access to counsel, appropriate return and reintegration programs for children who cannot stay in the US, and funding to support the government’s response. With the unprecedented number of children, even more is needed to ensure their representation and protection. About 70 percent continue to present their case in immigration court without an attorney.
You will read about KIND’s work in 2013, our accomplishments and activities of which many of you were an important part, and the reason we continue to grow in capacity and success. You are the heart of KIND, and without question, on the front lines of a historic human rights emergency that reaches to the core of our values as a nation and a people — the protection of the most vulnerable and the basic right to life and safety, and what many of these children have lost —- a childhood.
Learn more about our 2013 accomplishments in the 2013 Annual Report.