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Unaccompanied minors

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Shelly Wright

on 15 December 2015

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Transcript of Unaccompanied minors

What is an unaccompanied minor?
Why are they coming here?
violence
gangs
poverty
to reunite with family members
What happens when they get here?
Adults and families detained at the border usually go through an out of court deportation process and many who do not have proper paperwork have to go through an expedited removal process back to their countries.
Children from Mexico & Canada
These children are screened to determine if they are able to make their own decisions, the victim of trafficking, or the victim of persecution in their country.

If these do not apply the child is immediately sent back to their country. This is called volunatry return.

The Process for Children
Children are interviewed and go through a health screening
The child is tranfered to a short term Health and Human Services Shelter (here they receive needed health care, immunizations, and a long term shelter assignment)
The child is then transfered to their long term assignment until family or a sponsor is found
The child is then placed with the family or sponsor until their removal hearing
2014 Influx
Unaccompanied Minors in 2013: 38,759
Unaccompanied Minors in 2014: 68,541

Families in 2013: 14,885
Families in 2014: 68,445
Unaccompanied minors
coming to America

technical term: unaccompanied alien children

enter U.S. illegally
under 18 years old
no parents available to provide custody in the U.S.
Children are exempt from these processes and go through a more standard procedure.
Family Detention Centers
Highly controversial - many consider to be inhumane, reports of physical and sexual abuse, stories of families staying in the centers for over a year, reports of improper health care
In 2015 U.S. District Judge order Obama Administration to improve conditions at the detention centers.
The order prohibited centers from keeping children in the centers if they are not properly licensed for them and also prohibited families from being detained unless they are threats to National Security.
Flores V. Meese
Class action lawsuit on behalf of all minors
Settlement required minors who were detained to be housed in centers that met the state standards for the housing and care of dependent minor children
Requires that minors be held in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their age and special needs to ensure their protection and wellbeing
Required minors be released from custody without delay to family or a sponsor.
Required children to not be kept with unrelated adults for more than 24 hours

1997 Agreement was approved
2014 Motion to Enforce


DHS refusing to release minors apprehended with their mothers claiming that it encourages mothers to come illegally with their children
Failing to provide routine bond hearings for minors.
Keeping minors detained with their mothers in unlicensed secure facilities.
Failing to keep up with record keeping such as: minors weight loss, mental health, respiratory illnesses, fevers, and more.
Holding children in Border Patrol facilities immediately after arrest without necessities for minor children.
Failing to assess whether minors have special needs and to place them in facilities that can address those special needs.
Failing to advise apprehended minors of their legal rights.
Failing to have a written plan to address the surge and reasonable plans to release minors during a surge.
Complaints leading to 2014 motion to enforce
The detention centers have a lasting effect on children and families who are detained there.
Most families are fleeing persecution or domestic violence and their stays in these center only make their trauma worse.
Many have symptoms of PTSD and depression.

Stays are increasingly shorter at the centers, but the amount of immigrants in the centers are increasing.
Effects of the Detention Centers
The Central American Minors Program (CAM)
Helps minors in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador enter the U.S. legally.
Parents who came to the U.S. legally may file for their children to join them here.
Sometimes, if the parent is living in another country with the child and is the legal spouse of the parents residing in the U.S. they may be eligible to come to the U.S. with the child
The program was passed in 2014, but has yet to bring a single child to America
5,400 children has applied and as of November 2015 only 90 have been interviewed.
Paperwork is time consuming and getting fund for travel is a big issue with why it is taking so long to see action.
Many immigrants are treated poorly and as we see in the family detention centers, sometimes even their basic needs are not met.

They are detained and contained from the moment that they enter into the U.S.

As children, growing up in a secured facility has major effects on their mental health.

I believe these detention centers are a violation of a person's human rights, we all have a right to eat, sleep, have shelter, have health care, and the resources to survive.



Thoughts on Immigrant Rights
A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses. (2015, June 26). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/guide-children-arriving-border-laws-policies-and-responses

Duffy, C. (2015, October 20). New Report Shows Even Short Stays in Family Detention Harm Children's Health. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/new-report-shows-even-short-stays-family-detention-harm-children-s-health

Flores v. Meese Case. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://immigrantchildren.org/Flores_Case.html

Hennessy-Fiske, M. (2015, October 23). Immigrant family detention centers are prison like, critics say, despite order to improve. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-immigration-family-detention-20151020-story.html

In-Country Refugee/Parole Processing for Minors in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (Central American Minors – CAM). (2015, June 1). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.uscis.gov/CAM

Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children (FY 2014). (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children-2014

Turkel, D. (2015, November 5). Not a single child has entered the US through Obama's program to help Central American children flee violence. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.businessinsider.com/no-children-have-successfully-used-the-us-program-to-help-central-american-children-2015-11

Unaccompanied Children at the Southwest Border. (2015, July 17). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.dhs.gov/unaccompanied-children

References
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