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Houston Chronicle
June 11, 2015

A year after border surge, child crossings plummet
By Lomi Kriel

"The Obama administration has found a way to hide the so-called crisis of Central American migrants at the border, but at what cost?" said Maureen Meyer, senior associate for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America. "Tens of thousands of vulnerable children and families are getting sent back into harm's way." Advocates point to how many children here have been awarded asylum or a type of protection known as special immigrant juvenile status, which grants minors a green card if state courts find they cannot return home because of abuse or neglect. Between October and March, nearly half of about 9,200 asylum applications for unaccompanied minors were approved, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Advocates say more would be approved if more children had lawyers. Unlike criminal courts, immigration courts don't provide attorneys for those who can't afford them. An analysis of federal records by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse last year found just one-third of unaccompanied children had attorneys. Of those, nearly three out of four were allowed to remain. The Obama administration has sought $50 million for legal assistance for these children, but the proposal was blocked by a GOP-controlled Senate panel this week.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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