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Why are state and local policymakers increasingly taking immigration matters into their own hands?

I recently participated in trips to two of the family detention centers currently managed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): the Artesia Temporary Facility for Adults with Children in New Mexico and the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania.

Last December, at CLINIC’s Southeast Legalization Planning Conference in Atlanta, we dedicated a morning to discussing immigration advocacy on the state and local levels.  Legal service providers and advocates shared troubling stories about local law enforcement engaging in immigration enforcement efforts in their communities.

As a response to the humanitarian crisis of children arriving at our Southern border, Congress considered legislation that would strip the protections created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. These changes would allow the United States to return Central American children to their home countries without meaningful screening to determine whether they are victims of trafficking or fear persecution.

By Kelly Kidwell Hughes, Advocacy Intern

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) allows undocumented minors who have suffered abandonment, neglect, or abuse by a parent to become lawful permanent residents.  To qualify, the child must have an order from a juvenile court demonstrating that he or she is dependent on the state and cannot be safely reunited with parents.  Federal law allows children under the age of 21 to qualify, but many potential beneficiaries between the ages of 18 and 21 are left out.  Their state courts only have jurisdiction over children younger than 18, so they cannot obtain the necessary court order to app