Waiting for comprehensive immigration reform has been at the very least, frustrating. More concerning is the danger that young children may face when arriving in the U.S. by themselves, hoping to be allowed to stay in the U.S. and be reunited with relatives in the states. Meanwhile the political games in Congress have more and more Americans absolutely fed up with empty promises that immigration reform is a priority and relief is forthcoming. Children who are brought into the U.S. at young ages have no control over what may happen to them. Furthermore, Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) is unable to manage the large number of child arrivals and the conditions in which undocumented children are being kept is a human rights atrocity.
Here is a general breakdown of the stalled progress of comprehensive immigration reform:
The Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill last July[i]. The bill failed in the House of Representatives and one of the main reasons was GOP concerns for southern border security. Meanwhile, President Obama was urged to take executive action and he ordered a DHS report with recommendations. Last month, the President told DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to hold off with the findings so House Republicans could pass an immigration reform bill. Recently, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor was voted out and replaced by a TEA party candidate many believe will not cooperate with existing reform efforts.
White House responded to concerns that immigration reform is now a dead issue: “Our strategy has not changed,” says White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri. “The impetus for action remains on the House.[ii]” While the world watches and waits for House action, young children are at risk.
Young children have no control over the fact they are “illegal.”
Children need many things including safety, shelter, food, clothing and a loving environment. For some, shelter and food are a daily struggle, and safety concerns make daily life extremely challenging for young children in parts of the world. Young children do not understand the idea of “illegal immigration.” In many cases, family members hear reports that the U.S. is a safe haven and if families make it through their treacherous journeys to U.S. soil, their children are allowed to stay. This is not the law and this is not true. Children arriving in the U.S. may, however, be allowed to postpone deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) policy temporarily protecting qualifying children from removal to their native country. DACA only functions to delay deportation.
DACA does not provide actual legal status.
DACA is only a deferment and delay of deportation for the children who qualify for relief under the policy. People need to understand that this program DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL STATUS. Even though a child may be able to renew their DACA participant status does not mean they may continue to stay in the U.S. without proper immigration status[iii].
DACA does not go far enough to protect children.
While young immigrants temporarily may be able to delay being deported, there is not enough protection for innocent children. Recently many children have arrived on U.S. soil alone and unaccompanied by a parent or family member who may not be eligible for DACA relief. Often, neither the children nor family members helping them come to the U.S. understand that DACA participation is contingent upon meeting eligibility criteria and that renewals are NOT AUTOMATICALLY GRANTED.
Attorney KiKi M. Mosley works to help innocent child immigrants avoid being victims of a failed system.
Until the currently out of date immigration system of laws and policies is reformed, we can expect a continuous influx of children who are victims of injustice in their native countries and in the U.S. If you or someone you know needs immigration help, they may contact the Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley in Chicago, Illinois.
Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.
[i] POLITICO: Immigration reform bill 2013: Senate passes legislation 68-32. By Min Kim Seng, June 27, 2013.
[iii] United States Immigration and Immigration Services. Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.