Crisis in Migrating Children

Central American children are arriving by busloads into southwestern United States cities, according to recent reports

In the American legal system, children must be treated according to the best interest doctrine.  That means that any decision made regarding the legal status of children is dictated by the standard of finding an outcome that works for the best interests of the child.  This is challenging when those children have migrated illegally, often unaccompanied by an adult, and have no one to care for them.

The best interests of the child is paramount to family strengthening public policy.  American jurisprudence has been a key actor in that regard, as is apparent in the article called
"Tracing the Best Interest of the Child Standard in American Jurisprudence."

Children who are born in America but have parents who migrated into the country without documentation are already the subject of a vast array of social services, victimized by a paralyzed federal immigration system and families that have not pursued legal immigration channels.  Read more about the plight of those children when their parents are deported in "'Are We There Yet?' Immigration Reform for Children Left Behind, published by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal and reprinted at the Regent Journal of International Law.

This surge of migrant children from Central America is causing tremendous strain on state social services and welfare systems - a system already burdened by American families.  (To find out what that already costs taxpayers in your state see "A Fifty State Survey of the Cost of Family Fragmentation" published by the Regent University Law Review.)

The New York Times reported last week that the United States federal government was going to make available $2 million in grants to provide lawyers to children facing deportation as a result of this surge of migration.  Providing these kids with a Child Advocate seems like a great idea, but it comes nowhere close to the actual immediate needs these children have, and their very serious circumstances of homelessness, hunger, and real danger.

Questions arise as to the parental irresponsibility of undocumented migration where children are just sent into another country so haphazardly; and even more questions come up regarding a federal government so unwilling to protect national borders and those who cross them, and so very willing apparently, to let states be burdened by those costs and strains on resources.  This crisis in migrating children deserves attention, and a strong policy for their protection from harm in that ill-advised process.  

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