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Join us as we welcome Alicia Kinsman and Caroline Sennett from the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) for A Discussion on Unaccompanied Children in Connecticut.
Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) are fleeing abuse, violence, gang recruitment, human trafficking, and other atrocities and come seeking asylum or other legal protection in the US. Under Federal law, a UAC is defined as a child, under age 18, who has no lawful immigration status and is not under the care of a parent or legal guardian. They are typically apprehended at entry into the US, put into removal proceedings, and then either detained or placed into the care of a family member or other adult, for the duration of their legal removal process, which is commonly called deportation. They are not provided legal counsel or assistance by the government. As a result, these vulnerable children often disappear and fall victim to exploitation and abuse. Some children are released to adults who are incapable of proper care at a minimum, or, worse, are violent criminals. Even in the best-case scenario when a UAC is reunified with a parent, there are often significant tensions that arise as UACs strive to integrate into their new communities, perhaps only temporarily. They struggle to thrive in school, find an attorney, and fight their removal proceedings. Parents struggle to parent children whom they haven’t seen in years. There is no financial assistance available to them, no assistance in securing legal representation in their removal proceedings (they need to find and pay for a lawyer on their own) and no formal support with their education.
For 100 years, the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants has built a legacy of leadership, compassionate service and effective advocacy for immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking and torture. We have consistently remained true to our mission to serve and empower new Americans to thrive in Connecticut. At the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, we strengthen lives and our communities, demonstrate resilience in meeting the evolving needs of generations of immigrants into Connecticut, and have an enduring presence in the community.
This program is presented in conjunction with our Special Collections exhibition, Crossing the Border: The Challenging Truths of Human Migration, on view at Pequot Library until January 24, 2021.