Resources on Children's Issues

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CLINIC joined more than 100 organizations in asking the Department of Health and Human Services to stop sharing information about juvenile immigrants’ sponsors with the Department of Homeland Security. The details are being used to deport sponsors, which the letter says violates the law and causes families to be too frightened to step forward to reconnect with their children.

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On October 16, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a precedent decision holding that an immigration judge (IJ) has initial jurisdiction over an asylum application filed by a respondent previously determined to be an “unaccompanied alien child” who turns 18 before filing the asylum application, in Matter of M-A-C-O-, 27 I&N Dec. 477 (BIA 2018).

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CLINIC is among the thousands of organizations and individuals that submitted comments in response to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children.” CLINIC opposes the NPRM which would eviscerate the protections currently in place under the Flores Settlement Agreement.

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On December 20, 2017, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued Operating Polices and Procedures Memorandum (OPPM) 17-03: Guidelines for Immigration Court Cases Involving Juveniles, Including Unaccompanied Alien Children. This OPPM rescinds and replaces OPPM 07-01, Guidelines for Immigration Court Cases Involving Unaccompanied Alien Children, which had been in effect since May 22, 2007.

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In September 2017, an Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) memorandum was circulated on various listservs. The memo is dated September 19, 2017 and is addressed to James R. McHenry III, the acting director of EOIR, from Jean King, General Counsel.

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This practice advisory is intended to educate advocates on important unaccompanied child protections and assist them with starting-point strategies for combating Department of Homeland Security efforts to strip vulnerable children of protections afforded to them as unaccompanied children.

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CLINIC has asked SIJ experts in MD and NY to draft affidavits describing in detail their respective state laws expanding state “juvenile” court jurisdiction from 18 to the age of 20. Advocates should use these affidavits in a creative manner including submission to USCIS in response to Requests for Further Evidence (RFE) or to Immigration Judge to request release from custody. As SIJ-eligible unaccompanied minors face hurdles to release following the February 21, 2017 DHS Border Security Memo, advocates should also consider using these affidavits for those under 18 years of age.

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