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Immigrant Children Background Information. Sally Kinoshita Immigrant Legal Resource Center San Francisco, California. Overview of Immigration Terms. U.S. Citizens Aliens Lawful Permanent Residents Non-immigrant Visas Asylees/Refugees Unaccompanied Alien Children. U.S. Citizens.

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immigrant children background information

Immigrant ChildrenBackground Information

Sally Kinoshita

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

San Francisco, California

overview of immigration terms
Overview of Immigration Terms
  • U.S. Citizens
  • Aliens
  • Lawful Permanent Residents
  • Non-immigrant Visas
  • Asylees/Refugees
  • Unaccompanied Alien Children
u s citizens
U.S. Citizens
  • Born on U.S. soil
  • Born abroad to a U.S. citizen
  • Naturalized U.S. citizen
  • Minors with green cards automatically become U.S. citizens when a parent or parents naturalize
  • Anyone who is NOT a U.S. citizen (regardless of status) is an “alien”
  • Always subject to deportation if violate immigration laws
    • Regardless of time in U.S. or other equities
    • Regardless of age
    • Even for non-criminal and some juvenile acts
lawful permanent residents
Lawful permanent residents
  • Also known as LPRs, green card holders
  • Have the right to live and work legally in the U.S. and to travel with a green card
  • Can apply for U.S. citizenship after 3 or 5 years of LPR status
  • Have to have underlying eligibility- majority become lawful permanent residents through a family member
family based immigration
Family-based immigration
  • Two-step process
  • Limit on #s per year
  • Wait can be very long
  • Not automatic - have to overcome inadmissibility issues
who else is here legally
Who else is here legally?
  • People on “non-immigrant” visas
    • Temporary, for specific time period and/or purpose
    • Do not necessarily lead to lawful permanent residency
    • Examples include work visas, tourists/visitor visas, student visa, etc.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Asylees and Refugees
  • Others (T visa, U visa, VAWA, SIJS, etc.)
what does it mean to be undocumented
What does it mean to be undocumented?
  • Entered on visa that expired or entered without inspection
  • Cannot work lawfully, cannot remain in the United States, cannot receive most public benefits
  • Can be deported if found by the DHS
  • Can attend K-12 public school (U.S. Sup Ct)
what is an illegal alien
What is an “illegal alien”?
  • Our immigration laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (the INA) refers to any non-citizen, whether present in the U.S. legally or not – as an “alien”
  • A more appropriate and less offensive term is "non-citizen“ or “immigrant”
reasons for undocumented status
Reasons for undocumented status
  • Family unification
    • Can be 5 to 6+ years to enter legally
    • Cost: affidavit of support
  • Persecution/abuse in home country
  • Economic reasons - jobs, poverty
  • Natural disasters
  • Human trafficking
  • War, gangs, drugs
  • Orphans
undocumented to lpr
Undocumented to LPR
  • Study of LPRs in 2003
  • Nationally 42% had previously been undocumented
  • In California 52% had previously been undocumented
unaccompanied alien children
Unaccompanied Alien Children
  • Also called UAC or Unaccompanied Minors
  • Under the age of 18
  • Come to the United States without authorization or overstay their visa
  • Without a parent or legal guardian
risks and remedies
Risks and Remedies
  • Risks
    • Apprehension, detention, deportation and more
  • Remedies
    • Immigration options for remaining in the United States
risks of undocumented status
Risks of Undocumented Status
  • Cannot work legally
  • Cannot receive public benefits
  • Cannot receive in-state college tuition (in most states)
  • Not eligible for federal financial aid
  • Detention
  • Deportation and unsafe repatriation
  • Barred from future green card or reentry
undocumented mixed status families
Undocumented/Mixed Status Families
  • Families headed by undocumented immigrant parents are:
    • more likely than other immigrants to be working in low-wage jobs that don't carry health benefits
    • more likely to have jobs that may not be stable and/or may be seasonal
    • less likely to go to government agencies to apply for children’s health care, food stamps and other benefits, even though their children may be eligible
    • are less likely to contact the police in an emergency
    • very likely fear deportation
impact of deportation proceedings
Impact of Deportation Proceedings
  • Right to counsel but none provided
  • Pro bono attorneys but few specialize
  • Complicated concepts and language
  • Detention
  • Long waits to have case adjudicated
  • Removal from the United States
  • Barred from re-entry if removed
juvenile apprehensions
Juvenile Apprehensions
  • Immigration authorities have typically apprehended over 80,000 juveniles annually (more then 100,000 in recent years)
  • Estimated 10,000 juveniles will be detained this year
  • Approx 70% result in deportation
  • Majority of remaining cases were withdrawn by request of juvenile
  • 2% granted asylum
ice vs orr custody
ICE vs. ORR Custody
  • ICE: detention and deportation (accompanied)
  • ORR: custody and care (unaccompanied)
  • No MOU between ICE and ORR
  • No consolidated statistics
immigration customs enforcement ice
Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Second largest law enforcement agency
  • One of the largest jailers in the world
  • More guns than the FBI
  • Currently 1.5 million people in immigration proceedings
  • According a WashingtonPost analysis, ICE “holds more detainees a night than Clarion Hotels have guests, operates nearly as many vehicles as Greyhound has buses and flies more people each day than do many small U.S. airlines”
  • Immigration violation is a civil not a criminal violation - possible alternatives
  • Even babies and small children can be detained
  • Average cost is $61-95/day
  • Detention can further aggravate isolation, depression, trauma, mental health problems
  • Majority of those detained are in 312 prisons and jails with local prison population
  • 6,300 new beds added in 2007
family detention facilities
Family Detention Facilities
  • Former prisons run by private prison companies
  • Most families pose no flight or safety risk -not for those with criminal records
  • ICE taking bids for 3 new family facilities to house 600 people - 3/4 of them children
  • Minimal security but “designed to prevent escapes”
juvenile detention facilities
Juvenile Detention Facilities
  • Contract bed spaces from shelters, group homes, juvenile detention centers, transitional foster homes (~70)
  • Family detention centers (2+3)
  • Must be kept in least restrictive setting, apart from adults (Flores Settlement Agreement)
unaccompanied vs accompanied
Unaccompanied vs. Accompanied
  • Deliberate misclassification of UAC as accompanied to use as bait for apprehending family members or to keep in secure facilities
  • Deliberate misclassification as UACs to avoid having to find family unity housing
immigration options
Immigration Options
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • U visa for crime victims
  • T Visa for trafficking victims
  • Family-based immigration
  • Asylum
  • Self-petitioning process for abused, abandoned and neglected kids in juvenile court jurisdiction
  • Dependency, delinquency or probate guardianship
  • Not in child’s best interest to return to home country
  • Self-petitioning process for
    • Abused spouses of USCs and LPRs
    • Abused children of USCs and LPRs
    • Abused parents of USC sons and daughters
    • Would otherwise be eligible for green card if abuse not present
u visa
U Visa
  • Visa for victims of certain crimes that are helpful in the criminal investigation or prosecution
  • Requires substantial physical or mental abuse
t visa
T Visa
  • Visa for victims of a severe form of human trafficking

- Sex trafficking, involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery

- Recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining a person for labor or service through use of force, fraud or coercion

ilrc contact information
ILRC Contact Information

Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director

Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)

1663 Mission Street, Suite 602

San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 255-9499 ext. 546