A recent New York Times article, dated August 25th, 2012, investigates and legitimizes the current influx of unaccompanied minors who illegally immigrate into the United States, many of whom are detained and are facing deportation proceedings in the southwestern States. Authorities have detained roughly 21, 842 unaccompanied minors in recent months, a 48% increase in just one year. Although illegal immigration from predominately Latin American countries overall has seen a decrease, it is the immigration of children that has seen its peak recently. This surge of refugees is blamed upon increased violence of gangs and drug traffickers who forcibly try to recruit young children. The parents of these children are most often times already illegal immigrants with steady jobs in the United States who are trying to reunite with their children. However, when the passage falters, these children, whose ages range anywhere from four to sixteen years old, must face the legal battle of deportation entirely on their own. As a public defender is not provided in immigration courts, these minors are left to defend their case, often times not even realizing the offense they have committed. Even now claim-makers and voluntary organizations, such as South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) who advocate for the legal representation of immigrants, are overwhelmed with the amount of proceedings currently taking place. Many migrants are excluded from a recent Obama administration policy providing presecutorial disgression should they have not committed a crime within the US. This however proves counterproductive considering their initial entry into the country is an act of an illegal crime. Even though most will face deportation, 40% of unaccompanied minors have been found eligible to gain legal immigration status. These cases must prove the minor experienced neglect or abuse at home or had become victims of human traffickers. In addition, many must have legal sponsors, primarily legal relatives living in the United States, to gain this status. In this circumstance, their illegal immigration can be deemed as refugee asylum seekers. Nevertheless, many argue this predicament to be a violation of human rights, as a child without legal representation in a US court goes against the notion of US law granting everyone the right of legal representation. As well, many are infuriated by the idea of these children, who the majority are attempting to flee violent situations in their home countries, are being deported and sent back into the calamities they initially tried to escape, as it is a fatal threat to their well-being and a crime against humanity.
NY Times Article: Young and Alone, Facing Court and Deportation
Date: Aug. 31, 2012 10.10