Undocumented children

Does Canada have "dreamers"? CBC Radio investigates

From the CBC website: “We’ve been hearing a lot about Dreamers in the U.S. – undocumented young people who fear they may be deported to countries they left as children. Canada has its own ‘dreamers’, but we hear far less about them”. That’s about to change with a series of radio spots from the CBC.
The first installment ‘Canadian dreamers find home at York University’ introduces us to refugee students who have been accepted into York University in a pilot project with the FJC Refugee Centre.
Also see the CBC print story for more information.
Part 2 examines the Canadian policy response to ‘dreamer’ refugees.

Documentary in development: The Deportation of innocence

The Deportation of Innocence tells the story of four children and their immigrant families in the United States as they come to terms with deportation and the long lasting effects this has had on their lives and answers the question, what happens to children after their parents are deported.

The documentary includes testimonies from lawyers, social workers, academics and who have firsthand knowledge and insight into the hardship of family separation and the challenges of reunification.
The documentary is complete, but producers have turned to crowd-funding to get this documentary out.

Papers, the book

immigrantchildren.ca reviewed the documentary Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth two years ago. It is a provocative and moving piece depicting the triumphs and challenges faced by undocumented youth in the US. Now, Papers, the book has been released. From the announcement:
“Papers the Book is here!! Order your copy today!
“This beautiful book includes 30 stories by undocumented youth and is illustrated with color drawings by undocumented artist Julio Salgado.
“These moving and inspiring stories were written by young people who range in age from 10 to 32. They were born in countries throughout the world and raised in the United States. The writers sent these stories to Graham Street Productions during the production of the documentary film Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth.
“For bulk and educational orders of this book, please contact us at info@grahamstreetproductions.com or 503-282-8683.
“For press inquiries or for a review copy, please contact us at
info@grahamstreetproductions.com or 503-282-8683″.

There is no one undocumented experience. Some of our parents crossed the border without authorization, some of us came here legally and overstayed visas, some of us were escaping persecution while some came seeking more prosperity. We are from all over the world. But somewhere in all our stories, there is a common thread: there is an act of love.
– Prerna Lal, Undocumented and Unafraid
Undocumented youth have been the leaders of a cultural transformation that has swept the country, making huge gains for the immigrant rights movement. Unapologetic and unafraid, they are writing their own history and establishing new rules in the game.
– Favianna Rodriguez, artist and co-editor of Reproduce & Revolt

In the dawn of the 21st century, undocumented youth are a living testament to what is enduring about the American spirit.
– Jose Antonio Vargas, award-winning journalist and founder of Define American

"I don't feel human" ~ The plight of young refugees and migrants in the UK

The Children’s Society is a UK-based charity that is “committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including safeguarding children in care and young runaways”. The Children’s Society campaigns and research seek to influence policy on and give voice to marginalized children, including young refugees. In February, they released a report on the state of young refugees and migrants in the UK. From the announcement:

In “I don’t feel human”, we examine available data on the extent and impact of destitution, and speak to young migrants and the people who work to support them. The report sets out the devastating impact being destitute has on children, young people and families.
“This is an issue for young people who come to seek protection in the UK alone but have been refused asylum and so are left in limbo.
“Having fled danger in their country of birth, these young people are exposed to danger and harm in this country because they are excluded from support and accommodation. They remain hidden from view and have to survive with minimal resources.
“This is also an issue for children in migrant families who may not have an asylum claim but who become destitute for various reasons including domestic violence and family breakdown. Yet due to immigration restrictions they are unable to access support and their parents are not allowed to work in order to pull them out of poverty”.

Call for support: Global campaign to end the immigration detention of children

Launching now is an International Detention Coalition (IDC) campaign to stop the detention of children. Children do not belong in detention. The IDC is urgently reaching out now to all IDC members and friends, but also to refugee networks, child rights organisations and other human rights workers to make a commitment to endorse our campaign prior to the international launch in March at the UN Human Rights Council.
The IDC wants to be able to give strength to the campaign on the launch date by making a statement about the number of organisations from a number of countries support the campaign. Please read the endorsement letter below, and either fill out the embedded form.
Please share the information below widely amongst your networks – don’t forget, the IDC wants general child rights and human rights organisations to get involved too! See the campaign endorsement video.
Call for support: Global campaign to end the immigration detention of children
The International Detention Coalition (IDC) will launch a global campaign to end the immigration detention of children at the UN Human Rights Council in March this year as well as in a number of countries. IDC needs your support to build and put pressure on governments to start using child friendly procedures, or for those that already do, we need to ask them to share good practices with others. The campaign to end child detention will be open to anyone supporting this position, as laid out in a policy document on child detention based on research in five continents wherein almost 80 formerly detained children were interviewed. The central argument not to detain children, their families and unaccompanied or separated minors is based on three principles:

1. Undocumented child migrants are, first and foremost, children
2. The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in any action taken in relation to the child
3. The liberty of the child is a fundamental human right.

This campaign then is about child rights but equally about human rights and refugee rights. This campaign focuses specifically on children detained for immigration purposes, including child refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants, however the IDC vision of alternatives to detention is far broader. IDC is looking for organisations to support the campaign in a number of ways: – IDC will organize a side event at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 to present the child focused research at a panel discussion on child detention. Also on that day, the official campaign film clip and website will be launched publicly and a number of countries will engage media with formerly detained children or by other means.
Let IDC know if you can help. – IDC also needs help with collecting more written or recorded stories, data about child detention or good practices in various countries, campaign representatives at regional and international forums and more. – IDC is looking for partners who are willing to endorse the campaign with their ongoing national or international work or directly participate in campaign activities. The alliance will be broader than just IDC members and open to everyone who can adhere to their position. Please visit the IDC website for more information on endorsement or contact Jeroen Van Hove, the campaign coordinator at jvanhove@idcoalition.org.