Woltjen: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children are Most Vulnerable

Unaccompanied Immigrant Children are Most Vulnerable
Maria Woltjen
Chicago Tribune
June 27, 2014

With a suddenness that has caught even the most seasoned unaware, waves of children from Central America are crossing the border. Most of them are on their own., without their parents, so many that the President has declared it an “urgent humanitarian situation.”   

Sixty thousand children are expected to cross into the U.S. this year, most of them from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. (For some perspective, from 2006 to 2011 an estimated 8,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border each year).  

These children – many of whom are younger than 13, some as young as 4 and 5 years old --  are taken into immigration custody and then transferred to secure facilities around the country. The shelters are filled to capacity, so in recent weeks the government has started using military bases.  

Each child will be charged with breaking the law and placed in deportation proceedings. They’ll be required to go before an immigration judge, to face a government attorney in a formal courtroom. 

But many if not most won’t have an attorney to speak on their behalf. They will be treated like adults, unlike in our state courts where children’s cases are handled separately and where there is a standard called "best interests" of the child. 

Faculty: 
Maria Woltjen

Comments

I think that Unaccompanied

I think that Unaccompanied immigrant childrens  are complex challenge we cannot overlook. Insisting that the country should never lose focus on humanity. Frequently child migrants are the dream weavers among us and we should not shatter their dreams but we should help them realise these dreams and allow them to be children. Our responsibility is to ensure that children enjoy life…we should not kill their hopes but we should commit ourselves to provide care and protection and ensure that their dreams, hopes and desires come true.When children and youth arrive, they feel disorientated and confused and we must be more cultural sensitive. No matter what they go through to survive, they remain children. We know that they possibly were exposed to abuse and suffering and my hope is to have a country which gives new hope to migrant children. I suggest you about Unaccompanied Minors http://minoristranierinonaccompagnati.blogspot.it/