Leslie A. Maxwell reports on the process for undocumented and unaccompanied children who make contact with authorities, focusing on Vera's report on the topic.
A new report documenting the journey of these children through the American immigration and justice system has just come out, and it paints a picture of a rather complex and intimidating process. The report was written by the Vera Institute of Justice, which has administered the federal government's Unaccompanied Children Program since 2005. The program, which is supported by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, provides legal services to these children. ORR is an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Though the numbers of these children overall are relatively small, it's still striking that several thousand of them are making their way, solo, into the U.S. every year. And that the trend appears to be on the uptick. In fiscal year 2009, for example, a total of 6,092
unaccompanied children were brought into ORR custody after being referred by the Department of Homeland Security. In fiscal 2010, that number jumped 35 percent to just over 8,200.