Who are these children, and how did they get here?
Children find themselves unaccompanied and vulnerable in the U.S. for many reasons. Some are victims of human traffickers, others flee neglect or abuse, and still others are sent to work to help support their families. What these children share in common is that, without your representation, they have nobody to help them understand their immigration proceedings or assert their legal rights.
Jorge* fled Honduras because gangs were targeting his family. On two separate occasions, his siblings were shot at by gang members. His brother and sister were each beaten several times causing them to be placed in comas. They have since recovered but another brother was killed by the gang. Jorge was beaten brutally by gang members with a gun and suffered a concussion. While police investigated, no one was arrested. He is very scared of living in Honduras. The gang has threatened to make him disappear, kidnap him, and kill him.
Beke* fled to the United States after his brother and father, a police officer, were killed by an extremist group. Alone, he tried to refuse the group’s recruitment of him as a soldier. He wanted to go to school. He moved frequently because of ongoing conflict based on religion and clan membership. At 17, he’s afraid to return to Somolia because of the country’s ongoing violence and civil war. He also does not have any family there since his father and sibling were killed. He does not know the whereabouts of his mother.
Originally from El Salvador, Alvita* has lived in four different homes and suffered abuse by each caretaker. Her mother left her with her paternal grandfather when she was 3 years old. Her grandfather, an alcoholic, was abusive and often hit her. At the age of six she was attacked by a family friend. Afraid to tell her mother, Alvita ran away and lived on the streets for about a month before she went to live with her maternal grandparents. Things were not much better there and soon she was sent to live with her aunt and eight cousins. They were also abusive, often fight and hit her and steal any food and gifts that her mother sent her from the U.S. The minor is afraid to return to El Salvador and will not live with any of her family because they all hurt her in the past. She is also afraid of the gangs because they kill children.
*names have been changed to protect the identity of minors.