Tuesday, July 15, 2014
A group of professors and researchers with experience teaching and practicing in the areas of immigration, human rights, and international law, primarily at U.S. universities, colleges, and law schools have sent a letter to President Obama offering counsel on the proper response to the refugee emergency involving unaccompanied children and families with children from Central America and Mexico:
"While we recognize the challenges are complex, we focus our comments on two administration responses that raise great concern: first, unspecified calls by the administration for changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (“TVPRA”); and second, procedural and operational responses intended to speed up the removal process that weaken legal protections for unaccompanied children and families with children. We also wish to remind you of the powers you have under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) to declare refugee emergencies and to grant protection through that mechanism. It has been the historic policy of the United States to respond to the urgent needs of persons, including children, subject to persecution in their homelands.
The Courts, Congress, and the Executive branch have long recognized that children must be treated differently under the immigration laws due to their particular vulnerability and lesser culpability.2 We need to maintain these obligations as we face the current challenges." (footnote omitted).
For the full text of the letter, see Download ProfessorsLetterFairnessforCentralAmericanChildren.