Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic, spoke with the Illinois News Bureau about the Biden administration’s handling of the surge of migrant children seeking refuge at the southern U.S. border. An excerpt from the interview follows:
Are we experiencing a crisis with unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border?
As of last month, the number of unaccompanied children at border has decreased significantly during the Biden administration, which is important considering the sheer number of kids that is and the limited resources that the government has to care for them. Most of these children are natives of Central America and Mexico.
In all recent administrations – Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden – dealing with unaccompanied immigrant children has been an incredibly complex task from a humanitarian standpoint. The first part, sheltering kids, is straightforward: Children arrive at the border and we take them into custody. Obviously, we cannot send them back to the dangerous situations from which they’re fleeing. But the second part, releasing kids from custody, is much more complicated. We want them to reunite with family as quickly as possible, but we cannot simply release them to whoever claims them. These individuals must be vetted to avoid placing the children in different-but-still-dangerous settings. Unfortunately, this vetting can create obstacles and significant delays to release, even to parents, siblings or grandparents.
There’s no easy solution.
Read the full interview at news.illinois.edu.