Emerging Issues in Refugee Protection: The Representation of Child Asylum Seekers

Emerging Issues in Refugee Protection: The Representation of Child Asylum Seekers

Ms. Nancy Kelly, Mr. John Willshire
Spring 2017 reading group
T 5:00pm - 7:00pm in WCC Room 4057
1 classroom credit

Prerequisites: Prior exposure to asylum or immigration law is helpful but not required.

Exam Type: No Exam

According to the latest statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), children, including those who are unaccompanied by an adult, comprise 51% of the total global refugee population. In recent years, the U.S. government has recorded a dramatic rise in the number of unaccompanied children fleeing from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to the United States: 51,705 in FY 2014, compared with 3,304 in FY 2011. This “surge” of children arriving in the United States is due in large part to the rise of powerful “maras” or gangs, which focus much of their violence on young people, whom they seek to recruit into their ranks.

The reading group will focus on the growing body of law governing procedural protections and related rights for children in asylum hearings, as well as the application of substantive law to the particular circumstances of children. We will draw on examples from the Clinic’s experience successfully preparing and presenting children’s asylum claims, including the First Circuit case, Mejilla-Romero V. Holder. We will explore the historical background to the current conflict in Central America and examine questions related to credibility and corroboration in children’s asylum claims, including the use of country conditions evidence to support the testimony presented. We will also consider comparative perspectives, studying other conflicts in which children have become particular targets. Students enrolled in the reading group will analyze treaties, regulations and secondary sources as well the experiences of child migrants through their narratives and case affidavits.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 2/7, 2/21, 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18

Subject Areas: Family, Gender & Children's Law, Constitutional Law & Civil Rights, International, Comparative & Foreign Law, Human Rights, Regulatory Law