Statement for the Record: TVPRA and exploited loopholes affecting unaccompanied alien children
First Focus Campaign for Children submitted the following statement for the record to the Senate Committee on Judiciary Border Security and Immigration Subcommittee.
Excerpt from the statement:
First Focus is a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Our organization is committed to ensuring that our nation’s immigration policies promote child well-being and ensure that all children have the opportunity to live a healthy and successful life.
The humanitarian crisis in the northern triangle of Central America has caused an increase in the number of young people who are fleeing horrific gender violence and gang recruitment. We urge both Congress and the Administration to uphold the best interest of the child in all decisions regarding this crisis and the treatment of unaccompanied alien children (UACs). We are concerned with the Administration’s attempts to undermine protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) for UACs including terminating the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), judicial discretion to remove UAC status, expedited removal of children from non-contiguous countries, and increased burden of proof for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS). Rather than weakening protections for children in the face of this humanitarian crisis, Congress and the Administration should be strengthening such protections.