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The Child Migrants at the Border

July 23, 2014

To the Editor:

Re “Rush to Deport Could Trample Minors’ Claims” (front page, July 20):

Today, the United States finds itself at a critical crossroads: Both the White House and Congress are considering proposals that would curtail due process rights for unaccompanied children in immigration removal proceedings.

The American Bar Association has long recognized the special vulnerabilities of children and has been an enduring proponent of enhanced due process rights for children, including access to counsel, the right to a child advocate, and the right to a full and fair hearing.

The bar association opposes any diminution in the rights available to Central American children under the law. It is imperative that children’s immigration cases be conducted in the presence of an adjudicator and never by video conference.

Likewise, the United States and its leadership must firmly adhere to the vital protections enacted in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act that grant unaccompanied minors the right to immigration hearings and the chance to seek legal advice.

In addition, added resources are needed to reform and bolster our system for immigration adjudication, a system that has been severely underfunded for years.

President, American Bar Association
New York, July 22, 2014

To the Editor:

“America’s Test at the Border” (editorial, July 21) urges compassionate treatment of the unaccompanied Central American youths. I agree.

I am an immigration lawyer who holds dual citizenship in El Salvador and the United States and a mother of a young child. As an immigration lawyer, I believe that as a country we should uphold due process. Thus, when a young Central American says, “I am afraid to return,” the appropriate person to sort this out is an immigration judge.

The gang violence in Central America is appalling. Many youths drop out of school for fear that they will be beaten or killed simply because they refuse to join gangs.

As a mother, I hope that all children who find themselves in a similar situation will be treated with love and compassion.

Tucson, July 21, 2014

To the Editor:

Your editorial offers myriad examples of how America is reacting to the young migrants at the Texas border.

Indeed, sympathetic action is required. But like many other humanitarian tragedies, economics comes into play. Who will pay for all that this entails? A precedent will be established for many more to follow.

Historically, America has had compassion. But what of the parents and governments of those migrant children? Do loving mothers place their children in harm’s way?

Once they are within our borders, who is going to provide housing, food, medicine and education? In the United States, the estimated cost of raising a child is in the hundreds of thousands.

I am an immigrant from Greece who understands poverty. America’s magnanimity must have limits. Porous borders are inexcusable. Yes, we must protect our borders.

Florissant, Mo., July 23, 2014

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: The Child Migrants at the Border. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


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