Immigrant Children Mistreated at United States Border

By Maria E. Molina

Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

DALLAS, United States – The Center for Public Policy Priorities has released A Child Alone and Without Papers which reveals that children are mistreated when they are removed from the United States and repatriated to their home countries.  The report found that children’s rights, safety, and well-being, are compromised contrary to international law and U.S. child welfare standards.  The paper reported that children are transported home unsafely and denied access to representation.

Children interviewed for the study reported going without water at U.S. Border Patrol stations, being handcuffed and having their requests for medical attention ignored. At least one child reported being struck and knocked down by an agent.

According to the study, many children faced complicated immigration proceedings without legal representation. Last year, 50 to 70 percent of detained unaccompanied minors went before an immigration judge without a lawyer.  The study found that , at  times, consulates were not notified that children from their country were being removed, a violation of an international treaty.

Children flown to non-bordering countries were shackled during the flight and those taken by vehicle across the border to Mexico were transported in kennel-like compartments.  Mexican officials reported that children were returned in the middle of the night and brought to ports of entry that were not specified in agreements.

According to the study, an estimated 43,000 unaccompanied illegal immigrant children were removed from the U.S. in 2007.

For more information, please see:

Center for Public Policy Priorities – De Falta de Representacion a Maltratamiento: Reporte Demuestra Lo Que Pasa A Ninos Indocumentados – 13 November 2008

Houston Chronicle – Study Says Immigrant Children Mistreated – 14 November 2008

Market Watch – From Lack of Legal Representation to Maltreatment: Report Reveals What Happens to Undocumented, Unaccompanied Children Removed From U.S – 13 November 2004