Every day, organizations worldwide are engaged in a collective two steps forward, one step back march toward improved immigration services and policies. What hard-earned lessons are these nonprofits, and the foundations that support them, learning from their persistent efforts? This collection of evaluations, case studies, and lessons learned exposes and explores the nuances of effective collaboration, the value of coordinated messaging, the bedrock of ongoing advocacy efforts, and the vital importance of long-term and flexible funding.

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"Immigration"" by Paul_the_Seeker is licensed under CC 2.0

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Learning from Youth: Envisioning Freedom for Unaccompanied Children

June 30, 2022

Hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied children and youth from around the world have arrived in the United States over the past decade seeking protection from violence, persecution, war, and insecurity. Yet, their reception into the country has often led them into an immigration system characterized by systematic criminalization, a lack of transparency, and separation from their families. The reception system for children arriving to the United States needs to be reformed to demonstrate respect for their basic human dignity. In interviews and group discussions, Vera engaged with 32 young adults who were detained as unaccompanied minors by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). They shared their stories about navigating the complex U.S. immigration system. Drawing from their lived experience and expertise, they developed 10 proposals to reform the reception system for unaccompanied children and youth in a way that centers their freedom, safety, and family unity.

Children

Compassion, Not Confinement

June 16, 2021

In the first five months of 2021, about 65,000 children were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after arriving in the United States unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. These children come to the United States seeking protection, stability, and a chance to reunite with their families, but are instead processed at federally run stations and incarcerated in jail-like conditions with often freezing temperatures, inadequate food and water, limited access to showers and hygiene products, and no access to private toilets, sinks, or beds.Rather than incarcerating unaccompanied children in such awful conditions, there is another way: to urge the federal government to respond to their arrival with compassion, not confinement, and to work as quickly as possible to reunify them with family and kin in the United States. This brief provides concrete recommendations to states and localities to intervene and use their authority toward this goal.