September 24, 2018

Aiding Undocumented and Citizen Children Separated from Parents

AUGUST 2011 

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges federal and state governments to enact legislation for the protection of

unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children (“such children”) and U.S. citizen children of noncitizen parents (“U.S. citizen children”) that would require: 

a) Such children be screened promptly upon apprehension by immigration authorities, placement in foster care, or upon other entry to a child welfare system, to determine whether the child is eligible for immigration relief because he or she is a victim of crime, abuse, neglect, or abandonment or another similar basis under state law; 

b) Repatriations of such children include formal intercountry child welfare agency involvement and adherence to intercountry protocols designed to address concerns regarding the safety of such children during the repatriation process and the process of returning a child to a stable family environment; and 

c) U.S. citizen children have full access to their birth certificates, paternity documents, and other vital government records without regard to the immigration status of a parent or guardian. 

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the ABA urges the revision of federal laws to ensure federal support for training of state and local judges, and for attorneys who work with children of non–U.S. citizen parents regarding the intersection of state child welfare laws, immigration laws, applicable international conventions and standards, and intercountry protocols that affect children who are detained, separated from, or removed from their adult caretakers.