The Border Children: They Are Not Criminals and They Need Counsel - Geoffrey A. Hoffman

The Border Children: They Are Not Criminals and They Need Counsel - Geoffrey A. Hoffman

"Our nation's response to this humanitarian crisis at the border has not been clear or coherent.  From the right and left the voices which have defined the debate have been guilty of the same underlying misconception: that these children must be "criminals" and that they need to be returned to their home countries at the earliest possible time.  However this is not true.  First, children (and even adults fleeing persecution) are not criminals if they are at the border and declare themselves afraid to return home.  It is a flagrant violation of international law and also our domestic laws (The Refugee Act of 1980) to brand them criminals and fail to fully consider their claims.  It is a violation of not only our legal but ethical duties to misapprehend their status, expedite their removals, and ignore their pleas for help.  To frame the debate as merely an enforcement issue misses the crucial bedrock issue: whether or not these kids are entitled to protection as refugees (or applicants for asylum since they are now within our borders)." - Prof. Geoffrey A. Hoffman, July 21, 2014.