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ILG stands with AILA and urges the US to address humanitarian crisis

According to a statement by American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), over 47,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the Southwest Border into the United States since 2013. The reasons for the children’s entrance to the US are varied, but include escape from domestic abuse, gang violence, and sex trafficking. Instead of detaining and rapidly deporting these youth, The United States needs to address this unusual influx as a humanitarian crisis. The U.S. is built on values of protection and opportunity, and must respond appropriately by protecting endangered minors. 

In a response to a recent House Homeland Security Committee hearing about the crisis, AILA made the following statement: 

“Yesterday, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson testified at the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on DHS efforts to respond to the increasing number of unaccompanied children at the southern border. He announced that DHS has decided to establish a detention facility to hold families and expedite the removal of adults traveling with children. Today, the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees are also holding hearings on the issue. AILA submitted statements for the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committee hearings arguing that detaining families is not an appropriate response to this humanitarian crisis and urging President Obama to ensure that vulnerable populations are not exploited or abused in custody, have adequate access to legal orientation programs and counsel, and are screened properly for possible relief and protections.”

ILG commends this statement and stands with AILA as it urges Secretary Johnson to take a stronger humanitarian approach to this crisis. Instead of abandoning or deporting unaccompanied children, we, as a nation, must consider nuanced alternatives that acknowledge the complexity of child immigration and protect child immigrants from abuse. In its full statement, AILA makes recommendations for appropriate responses, including ensuring adequate access to legal orientation programs and counsel, ensuring that children and other vulnerable populations are not exploited or abused in custody, and strengthening the U.S. protection regime.

To read AILA’s full statement, click here.