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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Help for immigrant refugee children- where are pro-life Republicans?

It's impossible to understand how Republicans can call themselves Christians, when they're compulsive about deporting refugee immigrant children from Central America, rather than help them in their desperation.  

Now, sadly, U.S. immigration has deported a group of the children who risked their lives to reach Texas. Although it's impossible to know how or why the children who were returned to their original nations was determined, it seems just plain cruel to prevent these refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S. 

Where are the Christian pro-life groups, demonstrating to prevent the U.S. from deporting these refugee children?

The Wall Street Journal reports;  Pope Francis is urging the U.S. and other governments to protect the migrant children, who are flocking by the thousands across the Rio Grande and to rectify often appalling conditions at home that have set them on the road.

The pope's call comes as U.S., Mexican and Central American officials scramble to contain what President Barack Obama and others have called an "urgent humanitarian situation" unfolding along the U.S.-Mexico border, primarily in Texas.

"I must call attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence," Pope Francis said in a letter, read at a migration conference in Mexico City sponsored by the Vatican and the Mexican government. The letter says youngsters cross the U.S. border "in extreme conditions, in a hopeful search that most of the time is in vain."

Where are the Right wing Christian pro-life advocates in response to Pope Francis and his appeal to help the refugee children?

Christian Science Monitor reports on child migrants 101: 
What does it take to win US asylum?

It's not enough to come from a dangerous place. Child migrants seeking to stay in the US must show they face persecution due to a specific group affiliation. That's why so many apply instead for Special Immigrant Juveniles Status.

By , Staff writer 

When it comes to the ongoing flood of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the US-Mexico border, the political battle lines have been drawn. Republicans by and large want new spending to focus on the swift deportation of unaccompanied alien children (or 
UACs, the legal term used in legislation), while Democrats aim to ensure that those eligible for asylum receive it.

The Obama administration says most of these migrant children likely will not be eligible to stay. “Based on what we know about these cases, it is unlikely that most of these kids will qualify for humanitarian relief,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in a press briefing on July 7. But what exactly makes a child eligible for asylum? And under what circumstances is a judge likely to grant it?

According to immigration judges and lawyers, the laws are complex, open to interpretation, often misunderstood, and affected by several extralegal factors, including financial and legal resources available to a given applicant.

The most common way such minors are granted permanent residency is not via asylum at all, but rather by receiving Special Immigrant Juveniles Status (SIJS), which aims to help foreign children in the United States who were abused, abandoned, or neglected.

Of all migrant children apprehended traveling alone, 2,588 children, or 42 percent, were potentially eligible for relief in 2011, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Of those, 1,449 applied for SIJ status, while 785 applied for asylum. (These numbers predate the current big wave of migrant children entering alone. New Border Patrol estimates project that some 90,000 unaccompanied children will try to cross this year.)

Before a US immigration court can take up an SIJS case, a state court must find that the minor is the court’s “dependent,” typically meaning the child has no parent or guardian in the US and cannot be reunited with a parent because of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar reason under state law. The state court must also determine that returning the child to the home country would be against his or her best interests. 

This process is complicated, however, because the laws relevant to an SIJS determination vary from state to state, meaning the same child may be eligible for SIJS in Arizona, but not in Texas or California.

What’s more, most unaccompanied minors have no legal representation. Immigration court judges will advise children to pursue a certain legal path, such as receiving an SIJS determination from a state court. But, immigration advocates say, children often lack the resources and the basic understanding of American law to follow the judges' orders.

“Many of these children don’t even know what a lawyer or a deportation order is,” says Kristen Jackson, a lecturer at the University of California at Los Angeles, who specializes in immigration law. “Once … [unaccompanied children] are taken in, all are placed before an immigration judge. The question is whether they’re going to be able to access a state court, which often depends on circumstances beyond their control.”

Not all see the lack of legal resources as a significant issue, however. Some experts point to the existing process to guide SIJS applicants as proof that migrant children are getting a fair shake.

“I can’t imagine that an eligible child is going to slip through the cracks, because the immigration judge is going to go out of his or her way to look out for the interests of the minor,” says Dan Cadman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes illegal immigration.

Standard Asylum

The second most popular program for unaccompanied children seeking permanent residency is standard, non-age-specific asylum, which aims to protect people who face torture or persecution back home.

Asylum is typically more difficult to obtain than SIJ status, and as a result, children both with and without legal representation apply for it less often. In 2013, 718 children applied for the program, according to the nonpartisanMigration Policy Institute (MPI).

To be eligible for asylum, an applicant must show that he or she has been persecuted as a result of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group.

“It’s hard to show that your persecution is related to group violence,” says Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the US immigration program at the MPI. “Gang violence is not a sure win, and judges are discouraged from recognizing generalized violence” as a reason for granting asylum.

The gang-related violence that befalls children in Central America rarely falls under one of the five categories that makes a person eligible for asylum, experts say. Children need to show they face persecution due to a specific group affiliation, so living in an extremely violent neighborhood or region is often not enough.

Unlike SIJS, asylum determinations do not depend on the state where the court is located. However, they do depend on the inclinations of judges to some extent, as the provisions of the asylum law are fluid and interpretable.

According to Judge Dana Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, the persecution by “social group” criterion for asylum seekers is especially difficult to prove.

“It’s something that’s subject to evolving court interpretation,” she said. “So even experienced judges struggle to determine whether someone is eligible under that category.”

As with SIJ status, minors applying for asylum without lawyers face an especially steep uphill battle, advocates for such children say.

“There are situations that occur when minors don’t have enough connections, and as a result they might miss out on possible relief,” she says.

“[Receiving asylum] depends on whether they have appropriately expressed enough information in the court,” she adds. “This is always hard for a child in a courtroom setting," especially after a child has been through traumatic experiences.

All Americans, except for those who are among Native American indigenous groups, are descendants of immigrants.  

Therefore, it's wrong for us to turn away others who aspire to the hopes and dreams of our ancestors, who arrived in the U.S. as a result of being unable to live where they were, before immigrating.

Christians who are pro-life Republicans should demonstrate in support of Pope Francis and his call to help the immigrant refugee children in Texas. 

It's impossible to understand how pro-life groups can demonstrate to end abortions of the unborn, but remain silent and passive in the face of the humanitarian crises with immigrant refugee children in Texas.



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