Mr. David Pieterson

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Legal Protections For Immigrant Youth Under Threat

These days when I get ready to start work, I have that moment while I wait for my computer to power up—that moment of anxiety and uneasiness as I wait to see what's in my inbox, on the LISTSERVs, or on the pages of the newspapers I peruse to start my day. This is a feeling that is all too common for immigrants' rights advocates, particularly those who work with immigrant youth. What I fear, and what far too often awaits, is news that the Trump administration has found another way to undercut the important legal protections created to ensure the fair and humane treatment of immigrant youth by our immigration system. Without any accompanying action on the part of Congress to create or change legislation, the Trump administration is quietly taking aim at immigrant youth using the executive tools at its disposal. An essay writer is a person whose job is to create articles and provide informational content of state bar in an essay format. 

The term "immigrant youth" is a broad category. It encompasses undocumented and documented youth; it includes those who are with a parent or legal guardian and those who are unaccompanied. While there are many issues that could be discussed, this article focuses on two groups. First, there are immigrant youth who were brought to the United States by their caregivers at a young age, who have grown up here and who do not know any other country. These are the so-called "Dreamers" who have been fighting for years for a fair chance to permanently legalize their status and whose plight has been well documented. The termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the ongoing litigation trying to keep it alive are front and center for these youth and the advocates fighting on their behalf.

Second, there are immigrant youth who are recent arrivals to the United States, who came alone or without a parent or legal guardian, and who were apprehended and detained by the federal government upon their arrival. These are the "unaccompanied children" whose presence in the national consciousness has been most prevalent since the surge of 2014. The majority of these youth come from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The poverty, violence, and insecurity in those countries continues to compel children to make the dangerous journey north in large numbers, and the Trump administration is taking various controversial measures to stem the flow. The writer assigned to write my essay for me task of state bar information is qualified to the same academic level or higher than your writing requirements.

The Success of DACA

In 2012, based on Congress's inability to pass legislation to protect the Dreamers, President Barack Obama created the DACA program, which provides work authorization and protection from deportation for two years for certain immigrant youth brought to the United States through no fault of their own before the age of 16. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved about 800,000 initial DACA applications between 2012 and 2017. The program has been a huge success in terms of the number of undocumented immigrant youth who were able to emerge from the shadows to seek better education and employment opportunities. The writer assigned to write my essay request about state bar is qualified to the same academic level or higher than your writing requirements.

A recent survey has given an insightful snapshot of the impact that the program has had on the lives of DACA recipients and their families. This survey was conducted in 2017 by Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego, United We Dream (UWD), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and the Center for American Progress. These are some of the study's findings:

  • Ninety-one percent of recipients are currently employed.
  • Sixty-nine percent reported moving to a job with better pay after getting DACA.
  • Fifty-six percent moved to a job with better working conditions.
  • Five percent started their own business (compared with 3.1 percent of the American public as a whole).
  • The average hourly wage of respondents increased by 69 percent.

The survey also illustrated DACA's positive impacts on the economy and education:

  • Sixty-five percent of respondents bought their first car.
  • Sixteen percent bought their first home.
  • Forty-five percent are currently in school.
  • Among those currently in school, 72 percent are pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher.

Attempts to Terminate DACA

Despite the success of DACA and its undeniable positive impacts on individuals, families, local communities, and the national economy, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the termination of the program on September 5, 2017, threatening to hurl the approximately 800,000 approved DACA recipients back into undocumented status. The termination plan called for a six-month wind-down of the program, during which eligible DACA recipients could continue to submit renewal applications until October 5, 2017, but initial applications would no longer be accepted.

The program's termination, however, has been put on hold by federal litigation. On January 9, 2018, a federal district court judge in San Francisco ordered USCIS to resume accepting DACA renewal applications but stopped short of ordering USCIS to resume accepting initial applications. In response to the ruling, USCIS resumed accepting renewal applications on January 13, 2018, and continues accepting them to this day. A federal district court judge in New York issued a similar ruling on February 13, 2018. The cases are still pending before the respective courts of appeals in those jurisdictions. Hire a reliable free essay writer who will create an original state bar info and deliver it on time.

To make matters even more complicated, two additional lawsuits could also affect the future of DACA. On April 24, 2018, a federal district court judge in the District of Columbia ordered USCIS to begin accepting initial DACA applications again. However, the judge gave USCIS 90 days before those initial applications have to be accepted to allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to explain why DACA should be terminated. Then, on May 1, 2018, seven states, led by Texas, sued the federal government to terminate DACA completely. All of this litigation leaves the status of DACA in limbo, and it's not possible to know what the future holds for the program. What we do know right now is that anyone who still has DACA status or whose DACA status expired and is eligible to renew should do so quickly. It should be done in consultation with legal counsel if there are any questions about whether a renewal application could actually harm the applicant. For example, a renewal application for a DACA recipient who had a criminal arrest or conviction after his or her initial approval could actually trigger enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Protection of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

Much of the furor surrounding unaccompanied children in the United States has arisen only in the last few years. In 2014, a total of 68,451 unaccompanied children were detained at the U.S. border with Mexico and sent to shelters around the country. Most of the children were fleeing the poverty, violence, and insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The staggering volume of arriving children could only be described as a sea change and led to extensive coverage by the national media. The federal government's infrastructure for receiving, processing, and caring for the children was strained to the breaking point. Emergency shelters, such as the one at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas, had to be established because there weren't enough beds in traditional shelters.

Despite the recent attention, this is not a new phenomenon. Unaccompanied children have been arriving in the United States from different countries and for different reasons for a long time, although not in such large numbers. For many years, unaccompanied children were held in the care and custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). As early as 2000, a total of 3,364 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the southern border and detained by the INS. At the time, the INS was also the entity responsible for prosecuting the removal (deportation) cases of those same children, creating a clear conflict of interest. There were also serious concerns about the conditions in which the children were detained.

In 1985, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) and the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) sued the federal government to challenge the detention conditions of unaccompanied children in the care and custody of the INS. This lawsuit led to the seminal 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, a major victory that created many important child protections that are binding on the federal government to this day. The following are some of those protections:

  • a general policy favoring release from detention and family reunification
  • detention, if required, in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the age and special needs of the child
  • the right to a bond hearing
  • access to humane conditions, including drinking water, food, toilets, sinks, medical attention, and adequate temperature control and ventilation
  • segregation from adults
  • notice of legal rights

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred the care and custody of unaccompanied children from the INS to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which assumed the responsibility to comply with the mandates of the Flores Settlement Agreement. While detention conditions have vastly improved under ORR, challenges remain. The counsel for plaintiffs in the Flores case have had to intervene on several occasions to ensure ORR's compliance with the terms of the settlement. For example, in 2017 when it became clear that detained children were not being given the opportunity to request bond from an immigration judge, counsel for plaintiffs were successful in obtaining an order from the federal court securing that right. Most recently, counsel for plaintiffs sued ORR alleging that the following practices violate the settlement: