According to international laws that U.S. signed, before someone can be deported we must screen them to ensure that it is safe to deport them. It is called credible fear, and is a pretty basic legal concept that your NJ immigration lawyer can explain to you in more detail. If if someone has a credible fear of being tortured or persecuted in their home country, the law says they can’t be deported. An example of this were to be if someone who came here illegally from China was a Christian, and was able to prove that if they were to go back to China, they would be killed for being a Christian. Or, a homosexual Mexican who has already been tortured by their government because of his sexuality. These are examples of persecution, and if the officer finds him credible they must be placed before an Immigration Judge and have an opportunity to make his or her case to stay in the U.S.
Recent Reports About the Screening
Now, what does this have to do with children who immigrate to this country illegally? A recent report has found that about 93 percent of children who were deported between 2009 and 2014 were done so without proper screening. Many of these children were never asked if they were feared to return to their home country. There is a lot of child trafficking, for example, in nearby Mexico. These kids were sent back without the basic screening that the U.S. is obligated to do. They just shipped them back to the same potential abuse they were fleeing from.
What About Minors Under 14?
But there is an even more fundamental violation occurring. The report estimates that thousands of children under the age of 14 have been deported. The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) regulations state that children under age 14 are presumed generally unable to make an independent decisions. Why is this important? Another criteria that someone must meet before they can be deported is showing the ability to make an independent decision about returning to their country of origin. This means that, according the CBP regulations; children under the age of 14 are generally ineligible for deportation. The CBP is violating its own regulations, and putting thousands of children’s lives in danger, something that cannot continue to go unnoticed.
What needs to be done is an overhaul of both the hiring and training process for CBP officers tasked with the interviews. Many of them do not seem to take their jobs seriously, nor do they realize that they are in charge of some of these people’s entire lives and futures. When they cut corners in order to avoid extra paperwork, their laziness may destroy lives.
What Options Do These Illegal Immigrants Have?
Recent immigrants, particularly kids have generally two options to stay in the U.S. legally:
- Asylum. This is the most common request and I gave two examples above. There actually are a number of ways to qualify for asylum as I explained in a prior article; and
- Special Immigrant Juvenile. This is for a child under 21 who can’t be reunited with one or both parents because that parent is the reason he or she is running away. The actual standard is abandoned, abused, mistreated, or similar conduct defined under state law. I explained the special immigrant juvenile process in more detail in a prior article.
If these kids are not screened and just shipped back, how is the U.S. meeting its treaty obligations? More fundamentally, how are these kids going to know what they qualify for if they are caught and shipped back without even a cursory opportunity to explain themselves? This isn’t the America that I love. This isn’t an acceptable way for a country of immigrants to behave.
If you are interested in immigration, here are some tools for you.
- Do You Qualify for Legal Status? Do you have legal status in the U.S.? If not, in less than 10 minutes you can find out for FREE.
- Do You Need an Immigration Attorney? You Might Not – After you know if you qualify, find out if you need an attorney. You might night.
- 7 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Immigration Attorney – If you need an immigration attorney, find out who are the good ones.
- An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court – If you get arrested and are worried about immigration consequences, find out what will happen in this book.
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