- Thursday, March 29, 2012 |
- Written by Megan McKenna
KIND has been advocating with Capitol Hill staff to ensure that adequate funding for unaccompanied children's services is included in FY 2013 appropriations bills, which are in the process of being written in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. We've met many who have been supportive of KIND's work and others who are just learning about our work for the first time. These staffers are usually surprised that KIND has had clients as young as 2 years old and are shocked to learn about the suffering that many of these children endure.
KIND has been working in coalition with other advocacy groups to encourage more funding be directed towards legal orientation programs, including for custodians of unaccompanied children, to help immigrants understand their basic rights, about the immigration system, and in the case of custodians, their responsibilities towards the child in their care.
To ensure that screening of unaccompanied children, particularly those from contiguous countries as required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008, is being properly conducted at the border, KIND is working with other groups to expand training and monitoring of Customs and Border Patrol officers who come into contact with these children. This screening is vital to prevent children from being sent back to situations where their well-being, or even their lives, may be in danger.
KIND is also continuing to support the passage of the TVPRA of 2011, which has been held up in Congress, as well as the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Honors and Partnerships
KIND was honored earlier this month by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), receiving its 2012 Public Service award at its March gala. KIND Board Co-Chair Brad Smith accepted the award on behalf of KIND. Read about the honor here. You can see Brad's acceptance speech and watch a video about KIND produced by NCLR here.
KIND has partnered with the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic to serve as an advisor to the Clinic's research on the United States' responsibility to safely repatriate unaccompanied children under the TVPRA. The Clinic will analyze the United States' recent repatriation pilot project in El Salvador. The Clinic asked KIND to serve in this role because of our return and reintegration work through the Guatemala Child Return and Reintegration Project and our advocacy experience in the United States. Stay tuned for updates on the project.