Last Monday, an all-star panel of attorneys presented at the Delivery of Legal Service Section’s brown bag on unaccompanied minors. The panelists, including Shannon Erwin (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition), Elena Noureddin (Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project), and Gaye Özpinar (Law Office of Gay Özpinar), walked the audience through the conditions and situations that many are facing in holding facilities located in southern United States communities.
If you’re not familiar with the recent increase in unaccompanied minors traveling to the United States, here’s the deal: this past summer, the U.S experienced a considerable influx of unaccompanied children emigrating from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala due to the surge in violence in their home countries. Because these families and children are classified as illegal immigrants, they are not afforded the right to counsel. Individuals who have representation have a 50 percent chance of obtaining asylum versus only a 10 percent chance for those who are unrepresented. As a result, many unaccompanied children are being sent back to the dangerous environment from which they are seeking asylum.
Are you interested in helping? Click here to learn how you can volunteer with the PAIR Project. Spanish speaking attorneys are encouraged to get involved.
Photo Source: Source: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/styles/main-image-max-width-500/public/2367328760_b240e2340e_o_0.jpg?itok=WHd5Ge13