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    Out of the Shadows: Ending Statelessness in the Americas

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    Remarks by Anne C. Richard, the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

    Biden Promises Refugee Status to Central American Minors

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    Because the offer applies only to people with parents living lawfully in the U.S., it won’t help most kids who need it, said Jennifer Podkul, senior program officer at the Women’s Refugee Commission in Washington. "Some of the most vulnerable kids have parents who don’t have legal status in the U.S.," she said. "It’s a good first step but it’s not going to be panacea for this problem."

    Family Detention is a Breeding Ground for Abuse and Mistreatment

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    Inadequate medical and mental-health resources is another cause of concern. While a medical facility is open onsite at Karnes, a number of advocates and lawyers interviewed for this story, as well as instances detailed in a new report by the Women's Refugee Commission and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, say that their clients aren't receiving the care or medication that they've requested.

    tags: Detention

    Thousands of child migrants still lack lawyers

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    “By pushing cases too quickly through the courts, it is just form over substance — simply a veneer of due process,” said Jennifer Podkul, an attorney and senior program officer at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Giving a kid a hearing before they have adequate time to find an attorney or to be in a position to articulate a fear of return is not justice.”

    In fact, the numbers suggest the full impact of the expedited process has not yet been felt because of the abundance of continuances granted by judges allowing more time for children to seek counsel.

    New Immigrant Detention Centers Have Old Problems

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    Family immigration centers that have opened in recent months following an influx of young migrants from Central America exhibit the same problems that prompted the Obama administration to end immigrant family detention at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, according to a report conducted by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    Amid lawsuits and controversy concerning mistreatment of Hutto's detainees, particularly children, the Texas center now only holds adult women. "Every issue that came up with Hutto between 2007 and when it was no longer used for families in 2009 has come up again and again in" recently opened facilities in New Mexico and Texas, Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, said on a press call.

    tags: Detention

    The Tragic Cost of Family Detention: Sexual Abuse and Assault

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    The Administration's recent expansion of family detention comes at a tragic and horrific cost. This week, allegations of sexual abuse and assault were revealed inside Immigration and Customs Enforcement's new family detention center. I wish I was surprised, but unfortunately, this isn't the first time we have heard this. Rampant sexual assault inside detention facilities has been documented and reported for more than fourteen years.

    tags: Detention

    Who Profits From Plans to Lock Up More Immigrant Families? Private Prison Companies

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    "Many of these women and children have claims to protection and asylum here in the United State. To respond by locking them up in centers that are remote, far away from legal services.... It just doesn't make any sense," said Katharina Obser of the Women's Refugee Commission.

    New U.S. migrant detention center to be run by firm criticized by advocates

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    Refugee advocates decry the detainment of the immigrants, many of whom they say have strong cases for asylum.

    "People seeking protection are being put in conditions we know are damaging," said Michelle Brané, director of the Women's Refugee Commission's migrant rights and justice program.

    tags: Detention

    Human rights groups sound alarm on immigrant detention policy

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    "We are very concerned to see the continued expansion of family detention, which we know does not work," said Katharina Obser of the human rights group Women's Refugee Commission.

    Love and Loathing in North Texas Amid Child Refugee Crisis

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    Refugee policy and legal experts...believe President Obama's funding request largely misses the point by emphasizing harsh deterrence and increased security measures rather than providing much-needed funding for humanitarian aid and addressing the root causes of the current influx. Read the article by Candice Bernd, Truthout.

    Obama aides were warned of brewing border crisis

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    "I think the administration was dealing with it at a minimal scale, putting a Band-Aid on something they should have been thinking about holistically,” said Michelle Brané, Director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women's Refugee Commission. Read the article by David Nakamura, Jerry Markon and Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post.

    Why the Central American Children Migrants Need Full Adjudication of Their Protection Claims

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    A series of recent reports have identified multiple causes [for the humanitarian disaster], including the threat of gang, cartel and domestic violence; official corruption in sending states; criminal impunity; poverty and lack of opportunity; and the strong desire for family unity. Read the article by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies, on Huffington Post.

    The real failures of immigration policy

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    Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission, says it's like using threats to keep people in a burning house. Read the full article by Steve Chapman in the Washington Examiner.

    Michelle Brané on Immigrant Children

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    Parents have told Michelle Brané, WRC's Director, Migrant Rights and Justice; "I would rather see my child die trying to get to safety than to see them die on my doorstep." Watch on ComCast.

    Why Are Immigration Detention Facilities So Cold?

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    "I've talked to children who took the toilet paper they got and laid it on the floor and laid down on that, because it's one barrier between them and the cement floor," says Jennifer Podkul of the Women's Refugee Commission. Read the article by Molly Redden in Mother Jones.

    Send Them Home. Save Their Lives. Jail Their Mayors. 9 Child-Migrant Solutions

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    Jennifer Podkul, senior program officer at the Women's Refugee Commission says; "Children who have just survived a harrowing journey should not be forced to recount some of the most painful experiences of their lives to a border patrol agent wearing a uniform and a gun. Read the full article by Esmé E. Deprez on Bloomberg News.

    What’s leading immigrants to leave home?

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    Michelle Brané, WRC Director of Migrant Rights and Justice, appears on MSNBC to explain what's driving children to cross the US border, and what should be done about it. Watch the interview on MSNBC.

    The Children of the Drug Wars: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis

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    "If a house is burning, people will jump out the window," says Michelle Brané, Director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women's Refugee Commission. Read the op-ed in the New York Times.

    Putting A Face On Immigration Surge: Unaccompanied Minors Have Difficulty Navigating The System

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    Children and their legal rights simply have not been part of the immigration equation up till now. Read the story, which featured Michelle Brané, Director of Migrant Rights and Justice and appeared on Fox News Latino.

    Obama heads to Texas with no plans to visit border

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    For President Barack Obama, the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is increasingly becoming a political liability, giving Republicans a fresh opportunity to question his administration's competence and complicating the debate over the nation's fractured immigration laws.

    Still, Obama is resisting calls to visit the border during his two-day fundraising trip to Texas, where he arrives late Wednesday afternoon....

    Even immigrant advocates, who say Obama's response has been too focused on enhancing enforcement and deportation, said he would benefit from witnessing the influx first hand.

    "It would have been nice for him to see and speak to some of these children and some of these mothers with children who've come -- to find out first hand why they're coming," Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women's Refugee Commission, said Wednesday. "I think that would make a difference in how he sees this problem."

    Read the AP story that appeared in the Washington Post.