Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those  
            who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."    
- Franklin D. Roosevelt                            
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Project Scope

The Immigrant Children Project seeks to address both policy issues relating to the treatment of unaccompanied migrant children, as well as mechanisms for the delivery of direct non-governmental community-based services to such children.

Initially the focus of this work is on migrant children who have left their countries in order to enter the United States, or who have already entered the United States. As additional information is gathered from institutions and advocates outside of the United States working on behalf of unaccompanied migrant children, the scope of the project may expand to include issues in other countries, particularly in Central and South America.

Mission and Services

The Flores v. Reno settlement agreement reached in 1997 established the first uniform standards for the care and treatment of immigrant and refugee minors in INS custody, now in the custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (“ORR”). Despite reaching a settlement agreement seven years ago, ICE and ORR continue to violate the Flores agreement  These violations included placing children in secure facilities when they are not escape risks or delinquents; commingling non-delinquent children with juvenile delinquents; excessive use of confinement, handcuffs and restraints; denying children adequate education; denying children psychological services; failing to explain legal proceedings to children; failing to provide medium secure facilities for non-delinquent children with special needs; failing to provide adequate access to telephones; and refusing to release children unless the children’s undocumented parents and relatives surrendered for removal.

This vulnerable population of children lacks access to administrative and judicial remedies.  The Center and the Rights of Immigrant and Refugee Minors Project, funded by the California State Bar, seek to address the special needs of these children by focusing on the administrative and judicial remedies available to them.  Remedies available to these children include Special Immigrant Juvenile status, Trafficking Visas, Orphan Adoption, Asylum, Self-Petitioning and Cancellation of Removal under the Violence Against Women Act, Family Based Petitions, and U-Visas. 

The Rights of Immigrant and Refugee Minors Project provides free trainings, technical assistance, materials, and advocacy support to IOLTA and EAF recipients.  If you are an IOLTA or EAF recipient please contact Marchela, EAF Attorney at 213-388-8693 x 305 or marchela@centerforhumanrights.org for assistance.

The Immigrant Children's Project seeks to enhance governmental policies, both legislative and administrative, regarding the legal status of unaccompanied migrant children and their access to government social services.

Legal status issues include standards for arrest, conditions of detention, rules regarding release from custody, access to avenues to legalize status, labor and educational rights, right to guardians, etc.

Social services issues include unaccompanied minors' access to juvenile dependency courts, foster care, education, etc.

The project also seeks to examine international laws and their impact on the rights unaccompanied migrant children may be able to exercise.

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