April 16, 2020
Dear Acting Secretary Wolf and Director Redfield:
The undersigned organizations write to express our grave concern over the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s expulsions of unaccompanied children at the U.S. southern border. These actions, which do nothing to protect public health and safety, violate the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA), run counter to domestic and international law ensuring the right to seek asylum, and place vulnerable unaccompanied children at immediate risk of human trafficking and other harm. We urge you to cease these expulsions and treat arriving children in full conformity with legal requirements.
As you know, unaccompanied children comprise one of the world’s most vulnerable groups. They are girls and boys, some under 12 years old, who fled to the United States to escape dangers including extreme violence and sexual exploitation. Many of them face continuing trauma upon arrival. Their age, developmental stage, and trauma history present obstacles to navigating the complex U.S. immigration system and accessing potentially life-saving relief.