Unaccompanied Alien Children Crisis
In 2014 over 66,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol while crossing the southwestern border into the United States. These children are primarily fleeing from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, where they faced gang violence, poverty, and domestic violence. Once the children are released from Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters, they are placed with a family member throughout the country and are integrated into the community while they await their immigration court proceedings. Houston is the third-largest receiver of Unaccompanied Alien Children behind only New York and Los Angeles. From January 2014 until June 2014, 2,800 immigrant children have been placed with family members in Houston. To ensure that our community members are finding the resources they need during this crisis, Neighborhood Centers has taken the following actions to provide accurate information to affected children and their family members:
- Hosting informational sessions open to family members, the media, and community members to address issues regarding the existing laws in place, policies affecting these children, and how our community is providing assistance to the children arriving in Houston. We brought in experts on this topic to answer questions and provide their knowledge on this important humanitarian issue.
- Participating in coalitions with legal service providers and community organizations to respond to the crisis and ensure that community members have access to legal and social services in Houston.
- Offering legal screenings of children’s immigration legal cases and providing families with legal referrals to coalition organizations who can match children with pro bono legal counsel.
- Providing families with information on children’s rights during immigration court proceedings and ensuring that families understand the immigration court process and how to access information about their child’s detention location and/or future court dates.
For further questions or requests for assistance, please contact our Immigration program at (713) 273-3707 or Immigration@neighborhood-centers.org.