Let’s give a human face to a tragic condition that demands attention, our broken immigration policy and its horrific impact on the lives of immigrant children.
Belkis Rivera was six years old, when her mother left her with relatives and fled drug gangs to live safely in America. Seven years later, in retaliation, the gang went after Belkis, and she was forced to cross the border in search of safety and her mother. She was caught by US Border Patrol and ended up in a broken immigration legal system.
Sonia Nazrio, “Child Migrants, Alone in Court” (NYT, April 10, 2013) explains, ”In a nation that prides itself on the fact that everyone accused of a crime — murderers, rapists — has the right to a lawyer, undocumented immigrants, even when they are unaccompanied children, are not entitled to a public defender. Although some children are represented by pro bono lawyers or, for the few whose families can afford it, private lawyers, it’s estimated that more than half of them go to court alone. These children — some as young as 2 years old — have no one to help them make the case that they should not be deported.”
Click on the link Sonia Nazrio’s NYT Op Ed, ”Child Migrants, Alone in Court,” and follow the tragic story of Bilkis and so many other immigrant children, who are confronted with an immigration system that is broken.