Tuesday, June 24, 2014
VIVA Unaccompanied Minors: House Members Introduce Legislation To Provide Legal Representation Of Unaccompanied Minors
ImmigrationProf has reported on the flow of unaccompanied minors coming from Central America. Early on, the Obama administration realized that the children would need attorneys to navigate through the U.S. immigration processes.
Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Karen Bass (CA-37), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Judy Chu (CA-27) held a press conference to announce introduction of the Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act of 2014 (VIVA). The legislation would provide legal representation to unaccompanied minors and mentally disabled individuals during immigration proceedings.
Since approximately 2006, there has been an influx in the amount of unaccompanied minors who cross the southern U.S. border. In 2011, the number of minors illegally entering the U.S. began to increase significantly. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated that an estimated 90,000 unaccompanied children will attempt to enter the country by the end of this year. Most of the minors attempting to cross into the U.S. are fleeing extremely violent environments in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
This legislation has the support of the following immigration advocacy groups: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), United We Dream, National Council of La Raza, Farmworkers Justice, New York City Car Association, Safe Passage Project, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugees Advocacy Coalition, National Immigrant Justice Center, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Appleseed, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, First Focus Campaign for Children, SEIU, Women’s Refugee Commission, The Young Center, One America, Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), Asian Americans Advancing Justice- AAJC, Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Los Angeles, Human Rights First, National Immigration Law Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Immigration Forum, and the Detention Watch Network.
Elise Foley on Huffington Post reports on the legislation.