October 1, 2015
What a year 2014 was. More than 68,000 children arrived at our borders—alone, afraid, and traumatized—a tenfold increase from the average when KIND opened its doors in 2009. Many of these children have faced unspeakable horrors that no one should have to endure, least of all a child. Rape, life-threatening attacks, kidnapping, trafficking, the murder of loved ones—with nowhere to go, and no one to go to for protection. We hear of similar atrocities in far off places like Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria, and are appalled and want to help in some way. Ironically, we are less aware —and sometimes less outraged—about similar brutality when it is happening in countries on our back doorstep. But these horrors are the daily reality for the tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America.
It’s hard to comprehend the statistics—Honduras, the murder capital of the world, El Salvador close behind, and Guatemala— all in the top five most violent countries in the world—and understand how they translate into daily life. But we only have to listen to the stories of the children who KIND serves in partnership with our thousands of volunteers. The children’s descriptions of all that they have suffered, often so painful to hear, and their desperate hope that the U.S. will give them the safety and stability they have longed for, and most have never known. For so many around the world less fortunate than ourselves, the U.S. stands for peace and freedom, even to the youngest of refugees.
The U.S. legal community stood out in this child migration crisis for its extraordinary commitment to giving back and helping as no one else has. With the help of our partners, KIND has generated more than $84 million in pro bono services. KIND’s pro bono attorneys have been a lifeline for these children, transforming their lives from daily fear and uncertainty to hope. The numbers are stark—children who are represented are five times more likely to be granted protection and the precious right to stay in the U.S.
We still have a lot of work to do. The child migration emergency has turned into a due process emergency as tens of thousands of these children’s cases make their way through our immigration system, with 70 percent of the children unrepresented. The root causes of their migration continue unabated, with violence wreaking havoc and tearing young lives apart.
KIND will continue to do all we can to close this egregious protection gap and ensure that children are not sent back to harm. I am confident that, working closely with all of our fiercely committed partners, we will make even greater strides this year to transform these children’s lives.
Learn more about our 2014 accomplishments in the 2014 Annual Report.