Today, The Door’s Legal Services Center published “Reopening Our Doors to Vulnerable Immigrant Youth: Recommendations on U.S. Immigration Policy Impacting Young People,” a report addressed to the incoming Biden-Harris Administration proposing a number of immigration policy reforms that would directly impact Door members and immigrant youth in the United States.
The report chronicles the assault on the due process rights of immigrant children and youth by the Trump Administration and the impacts of the Administration’s policies on the lives of the young people The Door represents. It also makes the case for a broad reimagining of the United States immigration system to one that is trauma-informed, child-centric, culturally competent, and administratively equipped to meet the humanitarian needs of child migrants.
Specifically, the report calls for:
- Reinstatement and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, including a pathway to citizenship.
- Reform of Green Card availability for Special Immigrant Juveniles, who currently face a multi-year backlog if they are from Mexico or the Northern Triangle.
- Guarantee of due process rights for immigrant youth including the right to counsel for all minors, the elimination of deportation proceedings, and their replacement with a child-centric conferencing process.
- Increased human rights protections for children in detention, including their rights to privacy, their rights to full reproductive freedom, and the cessation of outsourcing of care to private for-profit entities and military contractors.
“Our recommendations are urgent – and more importantly, they are possible. The lives of children fleeing violence and persecution depend on the incoming administration acting swiftly to implement ambitious immigration reform,” said Eric Weingartner, CEO of The Door. “We stand ready to partner with leaders in the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that the rights of young immigrants are elevated and accounted for.”
“We must learn from these last years – permanent legislative protection for immigrant children and youth is not optional,” said Rachel Davidson, Managing Attorney for Policy at The Door, who led the writing of the report. “Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration have the power and means to achieve these goals. By doing so, they will signal to the children both within and at our borders that this Administration and country value them, their lives, and the contributions they will make to our society.”
“In the last four years, our legal practice and the lives of the young people we represent have been deeply impacted by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies,” noted Kaavya Viswanathan, The Door’s Legal Director. “We urge the transition team to boldly imagine a transformed system where the dignity and lives of immigrants in America are paramount.”