ACKC's Unaccompanied Minor Program
Our Unaccompanied Children Program, together with our sister organization, McCrummen Immigration Law Group, provides know-your-rights presentations and individual legal screenings to detained immigrant children in the Kansas City area. Unaccompanied children are children who have entered the U.S. without their parents and are placed in a group home or facility while awaiting reunification with a sponsor. Some of these children attend hearings in immigration court while they are detained. We strongly believe that no child should have to face immigration court without an attorney. We provide both representation for detained children and advocacy for children who have been released from detention.
What's an Unaccompanied Minor?
When a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings. These sponsors live in many states.
Sponsors are adults who are suitable to provide for the child’s physical and mental well-being and have not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child. All sponsors must pass a background check. The sponsor must agree to ensure the child’s presence at all future immigration proceedings. They also must agree to ensure the minor reports to ICE for removal from the United States if an immigration judge issues a removal order or voluntary departure order.
By the Numbers
Total number of Unaccompanied Minors referred to ORR custody from October 2021 to August 2022.
Unaccompanied Minors released in Missouri from October 2021 to August 2022.
Unaccompanied Minors released in Kansas from October 2021 to August 2022.
Know Your Rights Presentations and Representation
Attorneys at ACKC give group or individual presentations to newly arrived children at detention facilities prior to each child's first court appearance, which provides children with information about their rights while in detention and the immigration court process.
We meet individually with all children to identify their legal and social services needs and provide additional education about their rights and immigration law.
ACKC facilitates legal referrals for children upon their release from custody, provide direct representation in certain circumstances, and recruit, train, and mentor pro bono attorneys and match children with pro bono representation where possible.
ACKC also communicates with detention facility caseworkers, ORR staff, child welfare practitioners, and immigration authorities about unaccompanied children's needs and issues.
How Can You Help?
Your generous contributions make a huge difference in the services we can offer to Unaccompanied Children. Often the hardest part of doing the good work is funding it. Consider donating today!
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