White House Cuts Activities Funding For Unaccompanied Migrant Children

NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, about the discontinuation of funds for English classes and legal aid for unaccompanied child migrants in U.S. shelters.

Interview (NATIONAL)

National Public Radio (NPR)
June 6, 2019

Tags: Migrant Children

Organizations mentioned/involved: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)


MARTIN: What do you make of this decision? What was your reaction?

YOUNG: This is really a tragic decision because, in fact, the services that are being cancelled – education, recreation and legal services – are essential to the health and well-being of these children. Legal services in particular are provided because these children are fleeing extreme violence in Central America. They’re placed in deportation proceedings, and they need a lawyer to help them navigate the very complex U.S. immigration system. These are literally life-and-death decisions that are being made in these children’s cases because the decision will be made whether they need protection in the United States or must be returned back to Central America, where they may face further violence. So legal services, in fact, is a lifesaving service for these kids.

MARTIN: So you reject the claim by Health and Human Services that they are just – these are just ancillary, that these are extra things that aren’t critical for these kids.

YOUNG: I completely reject that. This is not a luxury service. This is an essential service for these kids. It’s also good for the system because kids who are represented by counsel, the proceedings move much more efficiently. Due process can be delivered. The courtroom process is – delivers fundamental fairness and due process to these children. So it’s important for the system as well that counsel be involved.