Understanding the Legal Options of Unaccompanied Minors at the Border

Credit: Donna Burton.
Credit: Donna Burton.

The arrival of thousands of children from Central America has been generating a lot of media commentary on what is often described as a crisis. But not enough attention has focused on the children’s personal and legal needs. At CARECEN we have seen an increase in new arrivals since May. Most are children fleeing violence in their homelands or trying to reunite with their parents here, or both.

In some cases there is not much that can be done for the child in the area of legal assistance. General fears of violence from gang members, which is one of the most common reasons for coming here, are not typically a basis for a successful asylum claim. However, in a limited number of cases, certain asylum claims can be made. Some children may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status as well.

Families impacted by the recent influx are generally uninformed about the limited legal options available to them. To help them understand what they can do, CARECEN will offer an informational meeting on July 17 at 5:30 p.m. at our offices at 91 N. Franklin St. Suite 208 in Hempstead. The meeting will be conducted in Spanish and is open only to families of the children.

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