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Central American Humanitarian Crisis

The escalation in the movement of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) over the last four years is a regional humanitarian crisis born from the rapid growth in crime, violence and poverty that has affected Mexico and several Central American countries for many years. Although the United States is the largest country in the region, with the most developed asylum and humanitarian protection regime, this humanitarian crisis is affecting the entire Central American region.

The Obama administration's recent statements have placed far greater emphasis on deterrence of migration than on the importance of protection of children seeking safety. (AILA Doc. No. 14063043.) At a time when the region is confronted with a major humanitarian crisis, the United States cannot compromise on fundamental principles of compassion, fairness, and due process, nor on international refugee protection obligations. AILA President Leslie Holman comments, "Our country's reaction to this crisis is going to echo through the lives of these children and their families for generations, and actions to throw them out will be a stain on our history long after this Administration is gone."

AILA Resources

Government Resources

AILA Member Action Items

  • Unaccompanied Children Legal Call to Action: AILA is seeking members who may be willing (but not obligated) to provide pro bono legal services to unaccompanied children at the southern border, once the specific legal process and need for lawyers becomes clearer. (7/3/2014) (AILA Doc. No. 14070348.)
  • AILA Member LTE Template on Unaccompanied Children: AILA members are urged to personalize and use this template Letter to the Editor (LTE) in response to articles mentioning the surge of unaccompanied children seeking refuge from violence and turmoil. (7/3/2014) (AILA Doc. No. 14070343.)
  • Practice Resources to Help Children and Families: a compilation of both AILA resources and other organization resources to help attorneys provide pro bono legal services in the United States to unaccompanied children and families affected by the Central American Humanitarian Crisis. (AILA Doc. No. 14072246.)

Recent News (Updated 7/8/2014)

Other Resources

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14070148.