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[IWS] CRS: UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN: AN OVERVIEW [28 July 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

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Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

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This service is supported, in part, by donations. Please consider making a donation by following the instructions at http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/iws/news-bureau/support.html

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

Lisa Seghetti,  Section Research Manager

Alison Siskin, Specialist in Immigration Policy

Ruth Ellen Wasem, Specialist in Immigration Policy

July 28, 2014

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43599.pdf?

[full-text, 19 pages]

 

Summary

The number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) arriving in the United States has reached

alarming numbers, straining the system put in place over the past decade to handle such cases.

UAC are defined in statute as children who lack lawful immigration status in the United States,

who are under the age of 18, and who are without a parent or legal guardian in the United States

or no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical

custody. Two statutes and a legal settlement most directly affect U.S. policy for the treatment and

administrative processing of UAC: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of

2008; the Homeland Security Act of 2002; and the Flores Settlement Agreement of 1997.

 

Several agencies in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health

and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) share responsibilities for the

processing, treatment, and placement of UAC. DHS Customs and Border Protection apprehends

and detains UAC arrested at the border while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

handles the transfer and repatriation responsibilities. ICE also apprehends UAC in the interior of

the country and is responsible for representing the government in removal proceedings. HHS is

responsible for coordinating and implementing the care and placement of UAC in appropriate

custody.

 

Four countries account for almost all of the UAC cases (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and

Mexico) and much of the recent increase has come from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

In FY2009, Mexican UAC accounted for 82% of 19,668 UAC apprehensions, while the other

three Central American countries accounted for 17%. By the first eight months of FY2014, the

proportions had almost reversed, with Mexican UAC comprising only 25% of the 47,017 UAC

apprehensions, and UAC from the three Central American countries comprising 73%.

 

In an effort to address the crisis, the Administration developed a working group to coordinate the

efforts of the various agencies involved in responding to the crisis. It also opened additional

shelters and holding facilities to accommodate the large number of UAC apprehended at the

border. In June, the Administration announced plans to provide funding to the affected Central

American countries for a variety of programs and security-related initiatives; and in July, the

Administration requested $3.7 billion in supplemental appropriations for FY2014 to address the

crisis. Relatedly, Congress is considering funding increases for HHS and DHS in the respective

agency’s FY2015 appropriations bill. Senator Mikulski introduced an emergency supplemental

appropriations bill for FY2014 for departments and agencies involved in the UAC crisis (e.g.,

DHS, HHS, the Departments of Justice and State). In addition to appropriations that are being

considered by Congress, several pieces of legislation have been introduced in both chambers;

however, this report does not discuss those bills.

 

CRS has published additional reports on this topic. For a depiction of how UAC are processed,

see CRS IN10107, Unaccompanied Alien Children: A Processing Flow Chart, by Lisa Seghetti.

For a discussion of select factors that might contribute to UAC migrating to the United States, see

CRS Report R43628, Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent

Immigration, coordinated by William A. Kandel. For a report on answers to frequently asked

questions, see CRS Report R43623, Unaccompanied Alien Children—Legal Issues: Answers to

Frequently Asked Questions, by Kate M. Manuel and Michael John Garcia. For information on

country conditions, security conditions, and U.S. policy in Central America, see CRS Report

R41731, Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for

Congress, by Peter J. Meyer and Clare Ribando Seelke; CRS Report R43616, El Salvador:

Background and U.S. Relations, by Clare Ribando Seelke; CRS Report R42580, Guatemala:

Political, Security, and Socio-Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations, by Maureen Taft-

Morales; CRS Report RL34027, Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations, by Peter J. Meyer;

and CRS Report RL34112, Gangs in Central America, by Clare Ribando Seelke.

 

Contents

Background ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Scope of the Problem ....................................................................................................................... 2

Current Policy .................................................................................................................................. 3

Processing and Treatment of UAC Apprehended ............................................................................ 4

Customs and Border Protection ................................................................................................. 4

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) .......................................................................... 6

Office of Refugee Resettlement................................................................................................. 8

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ............................................................................. 10

The Executive Office for Immigration Review ....................................................................... 10

Administrative and Congressional Action ..................................................................................... 10

Administrative Action ............................................................................................................. 11

Congressional Action ............................................................................................................... 13

Policy Challenges .......................................................................................................................... 14

 

Figures

Figure 1. UAC Apprehensions by Country of Origin, FY2008-FY2014......................................... 2

Figure 2. UACs in ORR Custody, October 2008 through May 2014 .............................................. 9

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 15

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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