The Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association are joining forces for a Humanist Crisis Response to the child refugee crisis at our Southern border. The fundraising campaign will focus on an aspect of the situation that has gotten little attention — providing attorneys for the immigration hearings each of them will face.
After a good deal of research, we settled on Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (The Florence Project), both of which focus on providing attorneys to represent these children in immigration hearings, which are required by federal law. Legal assistance will help the children navigate an immigration system that they have difficulty understanding. KIND and The Florence Project have offices in Texas, Arizona and California and are already offering this assistance, but they need the resources to handle the sudden influx of new refugees.
While many organizations have focused on the crucial task of providing food, shelter and other basic needs for the refugee children, little attention has been paid to getting the legal help they need to navigate an immigration system they don’t understand. KIND and The Florence Project have offices in Texas, Arizona and California and are already offering their assistance, but they need the resources to handle the sudden influx of new refugees.The overwhelming majority of these child refugees are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and the conditions they left for their dangerous journey to the United States are marked with violence, poverty, and instability. For young girls, especially, sexual violence is a major driving factor. An estimated 86% of these children face immigration hearings alone, with no adult to advise, protect, or explain the situation to them.
“As this crisis has unfolded, it has become clear that a major need for these children is not food and shelter but legal advocacy to protect their basic rights,” said Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief. “No child should meet a national immigration system alone. KIND and The Florence Project are doing brilliant work to ensure that they are not alone, and the humanist community is proud to support them.”
“This campaign is an opportunity for humanists to put into practice our values of justice and human rights and to ensure that vulnerable children receive the legal representation that they need,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
If you’re in a position to donate to this important cause, you can do so by clicking here.