For Immediate Release
CLINIC Urges Protection for Unaccompanied Children
WASHINGTON - The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is deeply concerned about reports that the Obama Administration plans to reduce due process protections for the children who present themselves at our border.
Record numbers of unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children have been picked up at our southern border. Many of these women and children are fleeing from their homes because of increasing violence from gangs, of which children are direct targets. The Administration is reportedly requesting expanded authority to expeditiously deport recent young border crossers without the safeguards that currently exist and without recognition of the trauma that drove the children to flee their homelands and the trauma they have suffered on the journey to the United States.
"Weakening due process rights is not the solution," said Jeanne M. Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC. "Deporting children to circumstances that endanger their lives undermines our values as a country. Children must be permitted a real opportunity to express their fear and be screened for legal relief."
Last November, Atkinson participated in a mission trip to Mexico and Central America to understand the flight of unaccompanied children and youth from the region. "Congress and the Administration cannot ignore the violence and lack of protection in their home countries that are at the root of the situation. We should be strengthening protections for children and families seeking safety - not eliminating them," concluded Atkinson.
CLINIC joins with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling for holistic, regional solutions to ensure international protection for vulnerable migrants. Recommendations arising from the mission trip are available here.
The nation's largest network of nonprofit immigration programs, CLINIC supports more than 250 affiliates located in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. CLINIC advocates for humane and just immigration policy. For more information go to www.cliniclegal.org.