Don't deport traumatized children to violent places

Published: Friday, Jul. 25, 2014 - 9:07 am

Re "Child migrant surge shifts politics of immigration" (Nation/World, July 18): As we seek solutions for this surge of migrant children, we should take a hard look at how we want our actions to reflect on our nation.

This exodus of children from Central America is a refugee crisis born from the rapid growth in crime, violence and poverty that has affected the region. These children are the victims of extreme gang violence and are not just economically motivated. Over 50 percent of them have claims to international protection because of the violence they have encountered.

Although the U.S. has the most developed asylum and humanitarian protection system, the Obama administration has placed far greater emphasis on deterrence of migration than on the importance of protection of children seeking safety. As many as 90,000 children are expected to be taken into custody this year. We cannot rush to deport traumatized children to violent places and jeopardize their safety.

-- Mary Beth Kaufman, chairwoman, Northern California chapter of the AILA, San Francisco

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