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[IWS] CRS: UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN--LEGAL ISSUES: ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS [18 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—Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Kate M. Manuel,  Legislative Attorney

Michael John Garcia, Legislative Attorney

July 18, 2014

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43623.pdf?

[full-text, 27 pages]

 

Summary

Recent reports about the increasing number of alien minors apprehended at the U.S. border

without a parent or legal guardian have prompted numerous questions about so-called

unaccompanied alien children (UACs). Some of these questions pertain to the numbers of

children involved, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential

responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival. Other questions concern

the interpretation and interplay of various federal statutes and regulations, administrative and

judicial decisions, and settlement agreements pertaining to alien minors. This report addresses the

latter questions, providing general and relatively brief answers to 14 frequently asked questions

regarding UACs.

 

Some of the questions and answers in the report provide basic definitions and background

information relevant to discussions of UACs, such as the legal definition of unaccompanied alien

child; the difference between being a UAC and having Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status;

the terms and enforcement of the Flores settlement agreement; and why UACs encountered at a

port of entry—as some recent arrivals have been—are not turned away on the grounds that they

are inadmissible. Other questions and answers explore which federal agencies have primary

responsibility for maintaining custody of alien children without immigration status; removal

proceedings against such children; the release of alien minors from federal custody; the “best

interest of the child” standard; and whether UACs could obtain asylum due to gang violence in

their home countries. Yet other questions and answers address whether UACs have a right to

counsel at the government’s expense; their ability under the Vienna Convention on Consular

Relations to have consular officials of their home country notified of their detention; and whether

UACs are eligible for inclusion in the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood

Arrivals (DACA) initiative.

 

A separate report, CRS Report R43599, Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview, by Lisa

Seghetti, Alison Siskin, and Ruth Ellen Wasem, addresses the recent surge in the number of

UACs encountered at the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as how UACs who are apprehended

by immigration officials are processed and treated. Other CRS reports discuss the circumstances

in other countries that some see as contributing to UACs’ unauthorized migration to the United

States. These include CRS Report RL34112, Gangs in Central America, by Clare Ribando

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

Meyer.

 

Contents

Definitions and Background ............................................................................................................ 1

What is an unaccompanied alien child? .................................................................................... 1

What is the difference between being a UAC and having Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status? ........................................ 2

What is the Flores Settlement Agreement? ............................................................................... 3

Why aren’t UACs encountered at ports of entry turned away as inadmissible? ....................... 5

Custody, Control, and Enforcement ................................................................................................. 6

Which federal agencies have primary responsibility for maintaining custody of alien children without immigration status? .................... 6

May children without immigration status be placed in removal proceedings? ......................... 8

Are children without immigration status eligible for relief from removal? ............................ 10

May children without immigration status be released from DHS or HHS custody? ............... 12

What is the “best interest of the child” standard, and how does it apply to immigration detention and removal decisions? ........ 14

Can UACs obtain asylum due to gang violence in their home countries? .............................. 15

How would considering UACs for admission as refugees—instead of asylum—change things? ........................... 17

Rights, Privileges, and Benefits ..................................................................................................... 19

Do UACs have a right to counsel at the government’s expense in removal proceedings? ............................................... 19

Does Section 292 of the INA bar the federal government from paying for counsel for UAC? ............................................. 21

Are there legal requirements concerning consular notification and access when an

alien child is taken into federal custody? ............................................................................. 21

Are UACs eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? ............................................ 23

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 24

 

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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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