Building an Efficient and Humane Processing of Unaccompanied Children

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick


April 27, 2021

The American Immigration Council appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security to address the treatment of unaccompanied children at the border and provide recommendation to ensure the creation of a unified humanitarian approach for all groups.

The recommendations included:

  • Building a new border infrastructure that allows for the efficient and humane processing of children that is flexible enough to address extraordinary migration events.
  • Stop blocking access to asylum at ports of entry through metering, which drives migrants, including unaccompanied children, into the hands of the cartels.
  • Embed ORR staff into every step of the border processing system, allowing them to begin the sponsorship process for unaccompanied children immediately after apprehension and process non-parental relatives such as grandparents as sponsors immediately, avoiding family separations.
  • Expand access to licensed child welfare workers at the border.
  • Ensure that no child goes through the immigration court process without a lawyer.


Policy Director

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