No child fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras should be deported back to a war zone.
Yet many claim that the only children that should be able to stay in the United States are those that qualify for legal protections. The latter position is unacceptable because it puts the lives of children at risk.
Even if a child has not been harmed or threatened in the past, there is a significant possibility that that child will be harmed upon deportation given that universally violent conditions that are present throughout the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Kids In Need of Defense (“KIND”) is a non-profit organization that has helped thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America remain in the United States. Their work is necessary and we have great respect for what they do.
However, we must strongly condemn a recent statement that KIND made through social media:
While many unaccompanied children have viable claims for U.S. protection, KIND recognizes that a number of others do not, and that they must return to their home countries.
KIND helps ensure that unaccompanied children are returned safely to Guatemala and that they have access to vital services upon their return.
We cannot return children back to war zones, even if they do not qualify for legal protection in the United States. We must be honest.
Children cannot be returned safely back to places where there is no government to protect them.
As attorneys that represent over 150 unaccompanied children from Central America, we know that a significant number will not ultimately qualify for asylum under U.S. law. We would never tell our children clients to return to Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador, even if the child was denied legal protection in the United States. Why?
Because their home countries are extraordinarily dangerous. Children are routinely gunned down, tortured, raped, or enslaved in territories run by sadistic maniacs. The governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador do not exist. Chaos reigns.
KIND should continue its great work and defend all children from harm. This means that no children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador should be deported.