A Chance for Due Process

In the summer of 2014, the number of Central Americans migrating to the United States reached a peak. Of particular concern was the high number of unaccompanied and separated migrant children, originating primarily from the Northern Triangle of Central America – Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

To raise awareness about the plight of children from Central America, a consortium of Jesuit law schools – including the Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry, working with Saint Louis University Law School – partnered with the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA to conduct a study on the challenges of providing legal protection for these asylum seekers.

“This partnership is a ground-breaking effort among Jesuit institutions rooted in the Catholic tradition of welcoming the stranger, to identify and call for significant changes in U.S. policies and practices toward migrants,” said Armando Borja, JRS/USA National Director.

Published in June 2015, the report is called “A Fair Chance for Due Process: Challenges in Legal Protection for Central American Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants.”

The document, in part, outlines the efforts of all the participants who provide direct legal representation to Central American migrants, most of whom are children seeking refuge due to violence and persecution.  Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry provided more direct representation to these individuals than any other law school, serving 144 in 2014.

The report makes nine recommendations for policy changes, including reform of the U.S. detention system and recognition of asylum claims related to gang violence.

CLAM Attorney Hannah Sullivan was invited to participate in a panel discussion on July 16, 2015 at Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C. There, she and other panelists discussed the challenges, and related recommendations, which are documented in the report.

To read the study, click on this link: https://www.jrsusa.org/assets/Publications/File/Fair_Chance_Due_Process_web1.pdf