This post was written by Liana Montecinos. Thirsty, hungry, at the brink of exhaustion, and with fear of violent deaths looming large back home is how many Central American children cross into the U.S. I know this because I have the privilege to work with child refugees in my capacity as paralegal at Benach Collopy and previously as a legal assistant at CAIR Coalition. But, I also know this because, like the children I work with now, I fled my native Honduras at 11 and I also crossed through Guatemala and Mexico via foot.
This blog post was written by FOBR Michelle Mendez, Senior Managing Attorney at Immigrant Legal Service of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. On April 8, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law Chapter 96, which, through a small, technical fix that closes a gap between state and federal law, expands the jurisdiction of an equity court to include custody or guardianship of an immigrant child pursuant to a motion for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) factual findings.
We have had lots to say about the children seeking refuge in the United States. Yet, once again, our poor power to add or detract has become apparent in light of this brilliant piece by Friend of Benach Collopy (FOBR) Heidi Altman, Legal Director of the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. The CAIR Coalition has been providing legal services to unaccompanied children in Virginia for several years and the fierce and lovely staff there knows all too well the motivations that drive children to leave their homes in Central America.
Media reports over the weekend indicate that the Obama administration is reacting in the worst way possible to the influx of unaccompanied minors along the Southwest Border. As the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform dies and leading House GOP members call for removal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees, the administration, once again, seeks to placate the most anti-immigrant portions of the population. Such a move is consistent with the administration’s long-held, and far too long stuck to, policy of ratcheting up enforcement to appeal to the nativists in the House GOP, hoping that this show of good faith would get them to support CIR.