Press Releases

June 30, 2014

Statement: 'Children fleeing violence need more protection, not less'

Asylum law leader responds to Obama Administration plan that puts immigrant children at risk of greater harm and dismantles humanitarian protections

LOS ANGELES – Judy London, Director of Immigrants’ Rights at Public Counsel, gave this statement in response to an Obama Administration plan released on Monday, June 30. The Obama Administration plan calls for rapid removals of children from Central America in response to a humanitarian crisis. Public Counsel is a national leader in assisting children and young people who are fleeing violence and abuse in their home countries to apply for asylum and other forms of immigration relief in the United States:

"The Obama administration has abandoned its responsibility and global leadership by seeking to deny vulnerable children fair and meaningful access to protection. Our refugee and immigration laws must allow children to receive fair and full consideration of their reasons for fleeing violence and abuse. Children’s lives are at stake, and in times of humanitarian crisis you don't dismantle legal protections. You make them stronger.

"Children fleeing violence need more protection, not less. Nobody should expect any child under threat of immediate removal to fully explain to border agents her reasons for making this dangerous journey. Children have experienced terrible trauma at home and on their journeys to the U.S. We should be applying the highest standards of child welfare to protect these children.

"Yet the plan proposed by the Obama Administration puts children at risk of more violence, more terror, and more trauma if they are returned home without a fair hearing. These children deserve a compassionate response to a humanitarian situation affecting the whole region. More than 52,000 children have sought our country’s protection, but the White House’s plan will fuel the cycle of despair driving children to our borders.

"America cannot sacrifice its own highest humanitarian values to seek simplistic solutions that put children’s lives at risk. The increased number of children at our borders presents a complex problem that won’t be fixed overnight. Solving it requires us to protect children in their home countries, assist those who must flee violence and persecution, and ensure real due process that everyone deserves, and children demand.

"We call on Congress to reject the Obama Administration’s invitation to shirk our humanitarian obligations to ensure that those children in need of protection receive it."