rare bipartisan bill to provide kids only courts for migrant children
The Immigration Court Efficiency and Children’s Court Act of 2023 has been introduced in the United States Senate by Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. The bill aims to establish kids-only courts for migrant children and provide special training to immigration judges.
A rare bipartisan bill on immigration aims to help unaccompanied migrant children in the United States. Currently, there are around 62,000 pending cases in U.S. immigration courts involving unaccompanied migrant children who crossed the U.S. border without parents. These migrant children have to defend their rights to stay in the United States. Last month, the US also reopened a facility to house unaccompanied migrant children. The authorities provided shelter and food to a group of unaccompanied migrant children.
Importance of kids-only courts for migrant children
Kids-only courts are important for migrant children. If children testify in courts meant for adults then the judges may not understand the problems faced by them. Children’s problems can differ from adults’ problems. Sometimes, migrant children are too young to communicate verbally. Sometimes, judges who are not trained in handling such sensitive cases might also fail to understand children’s problems.
The Immigration Court Efficiency and Children’s Court Act of 2023 can help migrant children by establishing kids-only courts. Michael Bennet, who was part of the bipartisan “gang of eight” senators that wrote an immigration reform bill in 2013, pledged to help migrant children.
KIND President Wendy Young urged the authorities to create a more child-friendly environment at courtrooms and recognize the unique vulnerability of unaccompanied children.
The bill has already achieved the status of being both bipartisan and bicameral. Bennet expressed hope that the bill will be passed soon.
In recent months, the US has opened various migrant centers to help unaccompanied migrants. Last month, the US also announced plans to open a migrant center in Ecuador. Migrant center will help Haitian, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan and Colombian migrants in Ecuador. The US has already opened “Safe Mobility Offices” in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala for unaccompanied migrants.