In San Pedro Sula, the first stop for repatriated migrant children is the Centre for Attention of Returned Migrants and Children of the Honduran Institute for Children and Family. This centre alone often receives 500 children in a day. Children are given a medical checkup, an interview with a psychologist, as most have suffered traumatic experiences during and before the perilous attempt to reach the US. Many of the children have been victims of violence and sexual abuse and alarming numbers have been kidnapped during the journey by criminal gangs in Mexico, for extorsion or to be sold on for prostitution. Photo: Sean Hawkey
UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN CRISIS
CWS continues to advocate for the safeguarding of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. from Central America’s Northern Triangle to ensure that their human rights are respected and that they have access to social services, legal services and family reunification. CWS and partners successfully defeated legislation that would have removed important protections from Central American children seeking asylum and supported The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act (S. 2540 and H.R. 4646) which would ensure that children in immigration court proceedings would have access to counsel, legal orientation programs, and post-release services. CWS mobilizes churches in the Sanctuary Movement, which has mobilized churches around the country to open their doors to people with deportation orders and has led the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to speak out more boldly on these issues. CWS is also mobilizing against detention in general, with specific emphasis against the use of private prisons and the detention bed quota that Congress imposes each year.
CWS and community partners assist unaccompanied minors by providing legal counsel in the form of attorney consultations, assistance with asylum applications, and attorney representation before USCIS, immigration and dependency court.
CWS supports families wishing to reunite with their children through the Central-American Minors Affidavit of Relationship Family Reunification Program, which was launched in December 2014. Through this program, parents can file an application for family reunification on behalf of their children. CWS supports the expansion of this program, announced in July 2016, which would allow more relatives to be included on the application and would permit sons and daughters of parents over 21 to file applications.
for Central American minors
were filed by CWS this year
on behalf of 412 individuals.
During this same period,
arrived as refugees