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November 23rd, 2020

Protect unaccompanied migrant children

topic: Child rights
type: Donation, NGO, Petition
by: Yair Oded

As climate-related crises, gang-violence, and political instability spawn larger waves of migration from Central America to the US, more children are forced to undergo the arduous journey on their own.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, roughly 11,500 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the US-Mexico border in May of this year alone. Alas, the government has failed to provide appropriate and child-safe solutions for these kids, who are held under abysmal conditions at federal immigration facilities and are forced in most cases to represent themselves at immigration court hearings. 

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a nonprofit organisation providing free legal aid to unaccompanied migrant children, as well as other other forms of support. 

Established in 2008, KIND has already been referred over 20,900 unaccompanied migrant children in need of legal aid, and has established an expansive network of trained lawyers, which includes over 50,600 participants and more than 664 law firms, corporations, law schools and bar associations partners.

KIND’s support extends beyond the US, as the organisation works to protect children in their countries of origin and on their transit as well through civil society partnerships and its pro-bono network.

KIND also runs a pro bono initiative in Europe, where it works to protect migrant children arriving from the Middle East and Africa. 

In addition to legal services, KIND also provides social support to migrant children - helping them process and address trauma, access medical and education services, and get accustomed to their new environment and community. 

The organisation also engages in extensive policy consulting and advocacy efforts both in the US and Central America, educating lawmakers and the public about the experiences of unaccompanied migrant children and the type of actions they could take to protect them.

KIND also responds to critical developments on the ground as they occur. Most recently, the organisation has set up response initiatives to the family separation and COVID-19 crises. 

Please visit KIND’s website to learn more about its work, join their team, and make a donation

Click here to sign their petition or write a letter to your representatives and urge them to take action. If you’re an attorney and wish to receive training from KIND on how to provide pro bono services to unaccompanied migrant children, click here.

Image: Christina del campo

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