Immigrant Children Background Information

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					  Immigrant Children
Background Information
        Sally Kinoshita
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
   San Francisco, California
Overview of Immigration Terms
•   U.S. Citizens
•   Aliens
•   Lawful Permanent Residents
•   Non-immigrant Visas
•   Asylees/Refugees
•   Unaccompanied Alien Children
             U.S. Citizens
•   Born on U.S. soil
•   Born abroad to a U.S. citizen
•   Naturalized U.S. citizen
•   Minors with green cards automatically
    become U.S. citizens when a parent or
    parents naturalize
• Anyone who is NOT a U.S. citizen
  (regardless of status) is an “alien”
• Always subject to deportation if violate
  immigration laws
  – Regardless of time in U.S. or other equities
  – Regardless of age
  – Even for non-criminal and some juvenile
  Lawful permanent residents
• Also known as LPRs, green card holders
• Have the right to live and work legally in
  the U.S. and to travel with a green card
• Can apply for U.S. citizenship after 3 or 5
  years of LPR status
• Have to have underlying eligibility- majority
  become lawful permanent residents
  through a family member
     Family-based immigration
•   Two-step process
•   Limit on #s per year
•   Wait can be very long
•   Not automatic - have to overcome
    inadmissibility issues
   Who else is here legally?
• People on “non-immigrant” visas
   – Temporary, for specific time period and/or
   – Do not necessarily lead to lawful permanent
   – Examples include work visas, tourists/visitor
     visas, student visa, etc.
• Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
• Asylees and Refugees
• Others (T visa, U visa, VAWA, SIJS, etc.)
    What does it mean to be
• Entered on visa that expired or entered
  without inspection
• Cannot work lawfully, cannot remain in the
  United States, cannot receive most public
• Can be deported if found by the DHS
• Can attend K-12 public school (U.S. Sup Ct)
   What is an “illegal alien”?
• Our immigration laws, including the
  Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952,
  as amended (the INA) refers to any
  non-citizen, whether present in the U.S.
  legally or not – as an “alien”
• A more appropriate and less offensive
  term is "non-citizen“ or “immigrant”
Reasons for undocumented status
• Family unification
  – Can be 5 to 6+ years to enter legally
  – Cost: affidavit of support
• Persecution/abuse in home country
• Economic reasons - jobs, poverty
• Natural disasters
• Human trafficking
• War, gangs, drugs
• Orphans
     Undocumented to LPR
• Study of LPRs in 2003
• Nationally 42% had previously been
• In California 52% had previously been
Unaccompanied Alien Children
• Also called UAC or Unaccompanied
• Under the age of 18
• Come to the United States without
  authorization or overstay their visa
• Without a parent or legal guardian
      Risks and Remedies
• Risks
  – Apprehension, detention, deportation
    and more
• Remedies
  – Immigration options for remaining in the
    United States
Risks of Undocumented Status
• Cannot work legally
• Cannot receive public benefits
• Cannot receive in-state college tuition (in
  most states)
• Not eligible for federal financial aid
• Detention
• Deportation and unsafe repatriation
• Barred from future green card or reentry
Undocumented/Mixed Status Families
• Families headed by undocumented immigrant
  parents are:
  – more likely than other immigrants to be working
    in low-wage jobs that don't carry health benefits
  – more likely to have jobs that may not be stable
    and/or may be seasonal
  – less likely to go to government agencies to
    apply for children’s health care, food stamps
    and other benefits, even though their children
    may be eligible
  – are less likely to contact the police in an
  – very likely fear deportation
        Impact of Deportation
•   Right to counsel but none provided
•   Pro bono attorneys but few specialize
•   Complicated concepts and language
•   Detention
•   Long waits to have case adjudicated
•   Removal from the United States
•   Barred from re-entry if removed
     Juvenile Apprehensions
• Immigration authorities have typically
  apprehended over 80,000 juveniles annually
  (more then 100,000 in recent years)
• Estimated 10,000 juveniles will be detained
  this year
• Approx 70% result in deportation
• Majority of remaining cases were withdrawn
  by request of juvenile
• 2% granted asylum
     ICE vs. ORR Custody
• ICE: detention and deportation
• ORR: custody and care
• No MOU between ICE and ORR
• No consolidated statistics
       Immigration & Customs
         Enforcement (ICE)
• Second largest law enforcement agency
• One of the largest jailers in the world
• More guns than the FBI
• Currently 1.5 million people in immigration
• According a Washington Post analysis, ICE
  “holds more detainees a night than Clarion
  Hotels have guests, operates nearly as many
  vehicles as Greyhound has buses and flies
  more people each day than do many small
  U.S. airlines”
• Immigration violation is a civil not a criminal
  violation - possible alternatives
• Even babies and small children can be
• Average cost is $61-95/day
• Detention can further aggravate isolation,
  depression, trauma, mental health problems
• Majority of those detained are in 312 prisons
  and jails with local prison population
• 6,300 new beds added in 2007
   Family Detention Facilities
• Former prisons run by private prison
• Most families pose no flight or safety risk -not
  for those with criminal records
• ICE taking bids for 3 new family facilities to
  house 600 people - 3/4 of them children
• Minimal security but “designed to prevent
 Juvenile Detention Facilities
• Contract bed spaces from shelters,
  group homes, juvenile detention
  centers, transitional foster homes (~70)
• Family detention centers (2+3)
• Must be kept in least restrictive setting,
  apart from adults (Flores Settlement
       Unaccompanied vs.
• Deliberate misclassification of UAC as
  accompanied to use as bait for
  apprehending family members or to
  keep in secure facilities
• Deliberate misclassification as UACs to
  avoid having to find family unity housing
        Immigration Options
• Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
•   Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
•   U visa for crime victims
•   T Visa for trafficking victims
•   Family-based immigration
•   Asylum
• Self-petitioning process for abused,
  abandoned and neglected kids in
  juvenile court jurisdiction
• Dependency, delinquency or probate
• Not in child’s best interest to return to
  home country
• Self-petitioning process for
  – Abused spouses of USCs and LPRs
  – Abused children of USCs and LPRs
  – Abused parents of USC sons and

  – Would otherwise be eligible for green card
    if abuse not present
                 U Visa
• Visa for victims of certain crimes that
  are helpful in the criminal investigation
  or prosecution
• Requires substantial physical or mental
                   T Visa
• Visa for victims of a severe form of human
  - Sex trafficking, involuntary servitude,
  peonage, debt bondage, or slavery
  - Recruitment, harboring, transportation,
  provision or obtaining a person for labor or
  service through use of force, fraud or
  ILRC Contact Information
    Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
    1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
       San Francisco, CA 94103
        (415) 255-9499 ext. 546

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