A recent New York Times investigation found that hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children are being exploited for their labor across the United States. These children, and all children, deserve protection and support.
Policies that limit children’s protections from harm – and access to that protection in the United States – open up vulnerable populations to exploitation. Through child-centered, trauma-informed, culturally and linguistically competent case management, we can ensure that children have a safe and stable home placement where they can learn, grow and thrive. Congress can – and must – ensure that every unaccompanied child has access to these critical services that ensure not only their protection, but also their ability to thrive.
Call your Members of Congress TODAY and urge them to increase protections for unaccompanied children by fully restoring all asylum protections, robustly invest in home studies and post-release services, and fight child labor exploitation.
CONTACT YOUR TWO SENATORS AND ONE REPRESENTATIVE TODAY
On the right-hand side, you can send an email that connects you to your Members of Congress!
Sample Email/Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and [as a person of faith/refugee/member of my community], I am horrified by the recent news around unaccompanied children being exploited for their labor across the U.S. I urge you to ensure unaccompanied children receive the protection and support they need by:
- Fully restoring asylum protections, including for immigrant families and children – End Title 42 expulsions, reject restrictions on seeking asylum, and fund a safe welcome for people seeking asylum and other protections. When the U.S. government prevents people from seeking safety through our asylum process, we put kids in more danger because their family and trusted caregivers cannot access protection.
- Robustly funding home studies, post-release services, and legal representation for all unaccompanied children – Properly implemented, post-release services ensure that family reunifications are and remain safe and stable. Post-release services provide each child with access to education, medical and mental healthcare, legal representation, and other services. Through child-centered, trauma-informed, culturally and linguistically competent case management, these services ensure that each child has a safe and stable home placement where they can learn, grow and thrive. The services also provide parental support to new caregivers and facilitate integration with local communities.
- Protecting children vulnerable to labor exploitation – Hold the administration accountable to ensure the Department of Labor and its state offices protect children at the national, state, and local levels. The new Task Force between the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services is a good first step to increase federal coordination, but there needs to be increased enforcement and consequences for companies violating the law, as well as coordination with all levels of government. Congress must hold companies accountable for profiting off of the exploitation of children, such as by eliminating the limits to fines that can be imposed on corporations that use child labor.
My community welcomes unaccompanied children and all asylum seekers with compassion and dignity, and I urge you to do the same.”
Amplify on Social Media: Share this message with your Senators & Representatives on social media. Below are some sample posts and graphics:
- [@legislator] I’m calling on you to ensure that every unaccompanied child has access to critical home studies and post-release services that ensure not only children’s protection, but also their ability to thrive.
- NEW: A @NYTimes investigation found that hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children are being exploited for their labor across the U.S. We MUST restore asylum protection for immigrant children and families.
- All children deserve protection and support, but a new @NYTimes investigation found that hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children are being exploited for labor across the country. Congress: protect children that are vulnerable to labor exploitation!
- My community welcomed unaccompanied children and ALL people seeking asylum with compassion and dignity! The U.S. must fully restore asylum protections so that children and families can live in safety.
- Hundreds of unaccompanied children are being exploited for their labor across the U.S. Congress, it’s past time to:
☑️Fully restore asylum protections
☑️Fund post-release services for unaccompanied children
☑️Protect children vulnerable to labor exploitation
Click here to learn more about CWS’s response, and click here to donate support CWS’s work with unaccompanied migrant children. You can learn more about CWS’s Children Services program here.
CWS Policy and Messaging Resources:
- CWS Calls for Change, Increased Protections for Unaccompanied Children Following NYT Report
- CWS Branded One Pager: Exploitation of Unaccompanied Children
- General One-Pager: Labor Exploitation of Unaccompanied Children
- Kids in Need of Defense: Five Recommendations for Protecting Unaccompanied Children from Labor Exploitation
- Women’s Refugee Commission: How to Talk About Child Labor Exploitation for Unaccompanied Children in the US
- Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights: Recommendations for Keeping Immigrant Youth Safe
- Child Labor Coalition: Children Working in Terrifying Conditions in US Agriculture — New Research Shows Child Farmworkers Unprepared for Workplace Dangers
- Child Labor Coalition: Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety Act
Thank you for taking action, and please share this alert with your networks!