Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 15, 2016 - Unaccompanied Central American children face horrendous travails when crossing the U.S. border.
Many of the children who attempt to come to the United States and make it across the border are running for their lives. Running from drug cartels, gangs and various situations that make it highly unsafe for them to continue living in their exceedingly dangerous home countries, often El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala.
Young male and female children are used as mules to distribute illegal products. If they refuse, they may face death threats or be raped. Gangs recruit many of their members from local schoolyards. There is no safe place or protection for the children. They are faced with the daunting task of leaving home and somehow getting into the United States, long considered a haven of safety.
However, although the United States is the beacon that shines in the night for these frightened youngsters, those that win their deportation cases live in paralyzing fear that the seemingly omnipotent gangs are going to track them down and murder them.
According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) study conducted in 2014, children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala perceived the risks of going it on their own to be far more preferable than staying at home — a conclusion that demonstrates how desperate child immigrants are to leave the strife and violence in their homelands.
While the conditions at home are worth fleeing to stay safe, what the children contend with when they are making their journey and when they arrive in the United States is horrific — rape, torture, abuse, and starvation. Virtually 60 percent of these youngest immigrations have potential claims for relief from deportation, a revelation that captured the nation’s attention in 2014 when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees took stock of the situation. What has been done to date?
The legal system is twisted and frightening. These children need legal assistance to deal with family courts, immigration courts, state juvenile courts and the asylum office. They are not entitled to free legal help and are between a rock and a hard place when DHS attorneys push to have them deported — back to the dangerous conditions that they fled, hoping for a safe haven. Without a lawyer, the Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse says that 9 out of 10 kids are deported. With an attorney they are five times more likely to obtain protection.
The American Dream or possible death on deportation? “It seems like a simple enough choice to assist these littlest refugees. However, the humanity in this disturbing scenario seems to be missing,” said respected Houston immigration lawyer, Annie Banerjee. “It’s time to halt the rocket docket and take a long hard look at how these children are being treated. That may be difficult to accomplish, as it appears that anti-immigrant sentiments are once again being stirred up by political controversy. Immigration reform is about children as well. This is a humanitarian crisis, not the opportunity to jeopardize children’s lives.”
Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139