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Risking Their Lives To Reach The Us

Inside Story Americas – Risking their lives to reach the US

The interview (Al Jazeera, originally aired Dec. 29, 2012, posted below) centers on what is behind the influx of child migrants and how is the US dealing with it.  The interviewer is joined by Jeanne Cohn-Connor, Cesar’s lawyer, works on behalf of the children who have found someone to sponsor them and Jennifer Podkul, the program officer for the Migrants Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

The majority of children coming are between 14 and 17 years old.  What’s new about these minors who try to cross the boarder are that they are coming out of fear of violence in their home country.  (not for economic or familial reasons).  These children are not eligible under Obama’s deportation deferment policy because they had not grown up in America.

The journey itself is dangerous, but for these children, the risk is less frightening than the violence they face in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  Some children have no resources, but they will do anything to get across.

What happens when they are caught: Brought before immigration authorities and questioned.  Sometimes children were confined in these centers for two weeks, but the government has responded to these harsh conditions.  The government is under no legal obligation to provide these children with legal representation during these immigration hearings.  Nor do these children currently have any recourse to report abusive treatment at the hands of the boarder patrol.

The second interview, which begins at 16:30, discusses the prosecutorial discretion granted by a new policy for deportation of minors who have met certain educational standards and have no criminal record.  The effectiveness of the policy is discussed by moderator Shihab Rattansi,  Jonathan Perez, the project manager at the Immigrant Youth Coalition, and Marshall Fitz, the immigration policy director for the Center for American Progress.

The policy depends on child immigrants coming forward voluntarily in order to receive the two-year reprieve from deportation.  If they meet the criteria, the deferment is almost always given to these youth applicants.   Applying for deferred action costs $456 dollars.

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