Toolkit for Working with Unaccompanied Children

There has been a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children and families with young children fleeing to the United States since the beginning of 2014.  Children are detained and placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge.  They may be released from custody but they still must fight their case in court.  Children's cases in Immigration Court are very complicated yet even children do not have the right to appointed counsel.  The most common forms of relief sought by unaccompanied children are Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for children who are the victims of abuse, abandonment and neglect or asylum, primarily gang related or child abuse claims.  The following resources provide information about the surge in unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border and the common forms of relief available to them.

 

3. Legal Authority/Agency Memoranda

Guidance from Chief Immigration Judge Brian O’Leary on court practices, including a reminder that judges have discretion to grant continuances to obtain representation or for other reasons, including state or juvenile court action. 

New regulation empowering the EOIR to appoint temporary judges in response to the surge of unaccompanied immigrant children.

Section 235 includes provisions regarding the treatment of unaccompanied children arriving from contiguous and non-contiguous states.

Provides updated guidance to USCIS Asylum Offices on determining jurisdiction in asylum applications filed by unaccompanied children under the initial jurisdiction provision of the TVPRA of 2008.  Modifies Section III.C of the March 25, 2009 memo below.

Provides guidance to USCIS Asylum Offices regarding the “initial jurisdiction” provision of the TVPRA.

Interim guidance for the implementation of asylum jurisdictional provision of the TVPRA in immigration courts, giving the Asylum Office initial jurisdiction over asylum applications filed by unaccompanied children.

Operating Policies and Procedures Memo (OPPM) provides guidance for immigration judges adjudicating unaccompanied children’s cases.

Guidance from Chief Immigration Judge Brian O’Leary on court practices, including a reminder that judges have discretion to grant continuances to obtain representation or for other reasons, including state or juvenile court action. 

Guidance from Chief Immigration Judge Brian O’Leary on court practices, including a reminder that judges have discretion to grant continuances to obtain representation or for other reasons, including state or juvenile court action.