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Can Unaccompanied Minors Who Illegally Cross the Border Become Residents

When partisan politics become a focal point of discussion in the United States, conservative factions are often seen as being against immigration while their liberal counterparts are thought to be supportive of immigrant rights. If this is the case, then it can be safely assumed that the leaders of both conservatives and liberals have mostly failed their constituency. Case in point: The ongoing immigrant children crisis at the southern border.

The conservative mindset supports the idea of immediately sending these children back to wherever they came from. The problem is that the current law not only prevents speedy deportation, but also enables up to 40 percent of these children the opportunity to become legal residents. Conservatives who do not like the status quo can blame their former leader President George W. Bush and his enactment of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act.

Under the administration of President Barack Obama, immigration policy has presented a political paradox. If President Obama is to be considered as leader of liberal Americans, then his administration’s record on immigration has fallen short of expectations. Record numbers of deportations and failure to influence Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform have betrayed the liberal American mindset. It is important to remember, however, that the Obama administration is essentially acting on laws that were signed by former President Bush.

Under the current law, the only unaccompanied children who can be deported immediately are from Canada and Mexico. The majority of the children are not from these countries; they are mostly from Central American nations ravished by the U.S. War on Drugs, which has flourished under both the Bush and Obama administrations. The current law also directs immigration authorities to transfer custody of these children to Health and Human Services, and to also grant unaccompanied minors the right to petition judges so that they can stay in the U.S. This is, after all, in line with the Due Process of the Constitution.

The Health and Human Services section in charge of caring for these children is the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is very apropos since most of these children are victims of the War on Drugs. The reason many of them are able to get residence status later in life is that they may qualify for asylum or some other special status. Click here to learn more about adjustments of status and consulate processing.

While some accompanied minors are able to gain residency in the United States, the process itself can be difficult and time consuming. If you need the expert assistance and support of a professional attorney, reach out to Kazmi and Sakata, San Diego’s trusted immigration lawyers and schedule a free consultation. Simply call 858-874-0711.

May 2024