April 7, 2021
It is safe to say that 2020 was a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic required us to physically distance while finding ways to strengthen our connections to better serve unaccompanied children on the move, whose journeys were made even more perilous because of the virus. These unparalleled times required unprecedented leadership, and KIND delivered.
While the Trump Administration used the pandemic as an excuse to further eviscerate vital protections for KIND’s clients and to close the U.S.-Mexico border, KIND met the challenge by expanding our reach, our services, and our staff to better safeguard our clients. We launched KIND México and opened our first official offices outside of the United States to ensure unaccompanied children have access to support throughout their migration journey. We continued to fight to reunite families separated by the Trump Administration, and we doubled down on efforts to support and file impact litigation, taking the administration to court for its unlawful and unconstitutional practices. We helped unaccompanied children share their experiences through video, writing, art, and audio by providing training on storytelling for advocacy. A KIND client shared her story with several Members of Congress during an online forum on family separation. Our team also worked with policymakers at the local, state, national, and international levels to guide efforts that will provide the children we serve with access to safe passage, legal counsel, social services, and a brighter future.
While tackling these important efforts, KIND did not lose sight of the immense challenges facing our clients in the courts and in their communities. We provided direct representation and teamed up with a growing list of law firms, corporations, bar associations, and law schools to provide first-class pro bono counsel to unaccompanied migrant children navigating the complicated U.S. immigration court system. We harnessed technology and our own “can do” spirit to stay connected with our clients, train our pro bono partners, and keep clients’ cases moving forward despite unpredictable court proceedings stemming from the pandemic. In addition, we continued to provide essential social service support for our clients across the United States. COVID-19 created tremendous obstacles for them, such as widespread food and housing insecurity and online education-related challenges.
We could not have weathered the storms that came our way during the past year without the loyal backing from our supporters, and thanks to them, KIND emerged at the end of 2020 stronger than ever before. In the face of great adversity, our team, spread across the country and around the world, delivered on every front and is poised to make even greater progress in the years ahead.
As we start 2021, the year before us is presenting new challenges. Unprecedented numbers of children are in need of KIND’s services as the border reopens and children begin to enter the United States in search of safety. KIND is leaning in to make good on our promise to protect them and to fight for policies that ensure their wellbeing. Together, we can ensure that every child has the support and protection they need throughout their migration journey and as they rebuild their lives in safety.