Thousands of children fleeing violence from their home countries have come to the United States—sometimes traveling long distances without their parents—seeking refuge. This humanitarian crisis has overwhelmed the existing support the United States provides for children who have been victimized by violence.
These children—some just barely older than toddlers—are crowded into temporary shelters, detention centers, and even facilities on military bases.
United States immigration law guarantees all children from certain Central American countries due process, including an asylum hearing in front of an immigration judge. These hearings are crucial to protecting refugee children. Sending some of these kids back could be, in the words of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, "to send them back to certain death."1
During the hearings, an immigration judge hears from each child and determines if that child is eligible for refugee status or humanitarian protection. But these children aren't guaranteed legal representation when they face the court and could find themselves alone in the hearing that will determine the rest of their lives.
That's why we're coming together as a MoveOn community to raise funds for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), an organization dedicated to providing legal support to children. We'll give every penny of your contribution to KIND.
Can you chip in to make sure these refugee children get the legal counsel and representation they need?Since 2012, the number of children seeking refuge in the United States has soared from three Central American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Stories of the violence these children are fleeing are chilling. This region, known as the Northern Triangle, has some of the highest murder rates in the world, and children may come to the United States having witnessed family members and friends hurt, raped, or killed in rampant outbreaks of gang violence.2
For many of these children, what happens during these immigration hearings could be the difference between life or death. No child should be forced to appear in court alone.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that nearly two-thirds of the children and families from Central America may be eligible for humanitarian protection under international guidelines3—but we are treating them like criminals.
By making a contribution now, you can help again, and make sure children looking to the United States for protection from deadly violence receive the chance they are legally guaranteed to share their stories and plead their cases.
Thanks for all you do.
–Anna, Stephen, Matt, Maria, and the rest of the team
1. "O'Malley: U.S. shouldn't send immigrant children back to 'certain death,'" CNN, July 11, 2014
2. "Why are so many minors fleeing Central America for the U.S. border?" KSHB, July 16, 2014
3. "Children on the Run," United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, March 12, 2014
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