Human Rights Situation of Migrant and Refugee Children and Families in the United States

Immigrant Child

On October 27, 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ( “the Commission”) will hold a hearing on the “Human Rights Situation of Migrant and Refugee Children and Families in the United States” at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The hearing on October 27th will address the human rights violations experienced by migrant children and families seeking protection in the United States. Throughout the past year, a large number of families and unaccompanied children have arrived in the United States, escaping extreme violence in Central America. The U.S. government response to date, however, has focused on expanding detention and accelerating deportation rather than recognizing the need many of these individuals have for international protection. The October hearing also comes soon after the Commission conducted its own visit to the southern U.S. border to evaluate U.S. compliance with the international human rights obligations. Its preliminary findings identified several troubling human rights violations, which will be further discussed by the non-governmental organizations involved in the October 27th hearing. Participants in this hearing, who all requested a hearing before the Commission, include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, University of Pennsylvania Transnational Legal Clinic, University of Texas School of Law Immigration Clinic, The Jesuit Conference of the United States and Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), The University of Chicago International Human Rights Clinic, and the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC).

The Commission was created in 1959 by the Organization of American States, a regional organization comprised of 35 countries, including the United States. The Commission’s role is to protect and promote human rights in the Americas; to that end, the Commission engages in human rights investigations and conducts on-site visits to Member States (including the United States). It also reviews complaints or petitions regarding specific cases of human rights violations and holds hearings with live testimony and written submissions from individuals and non-governmental organizations.


The hearing itself will be a live webcast at 9am EST, available at


Executive Summary

  1. Petitioners' Hearing Request
  2. Request for Precautionary Measures
  3. Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) Table of Cases
  4. University of Chicago Law School, International Human Rights Clinic, Briefing Paper, "Application of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' Advisory Opinion OC-21/14 ("Rights and Guarantees of Children in the Context of Migration and/or in Need of International Protection") to the Human Rights Situation of Migrant and Refugee Children and Families from Central America and Mexico in the United States."
  5. American Civil Liberties Union, Access to Justice for Children and Families Seeking Asylum
  6. Jesuit Conference of the United States and the Washington Office on Latin America, U.S. Support and Assistance for Interdictions, Interceptions and Border Security measures in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala Undermine Access to International Protection
  7. Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service (LIRS), Testimony by Jessica Jones, Child and Youth Policy Associate at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) for Congressional Progressive Caucus Ad-Hoc Hearing, "Kids First: Examining the Southern Border Humanitarian Crisis"
  8. Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service (LIRS), "From Persecution to Prison: Child and Family Detention"
  9. Women's Refugee Commission, (WRC), Fact Sheet, Confined Without Care: A Guide to the Detention of Mothers and Children in the U.S. Immigration System
  10. University of Texas School of Law, Civil Rights Clinic, Report made to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Regarding Grave Rights Violations Implicated in Family Immigration Detention at the Karnes County Detention Center
  11. Flow Charts on Expedited Removal and Immigration Detention, and Immigration Detention and Release Once Removal Proceedings Initiated
  12. Immigration Forms Demonstrating Violations of the Rights of Asylum Seekers
  13. Letters of Complaint about Karnes County Residential Center
  14. Lutheran Immigrant Refugee Services (LIRS), Advocates for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault call for an end to the use of detention centers for immigration women and children fleeing violence
  15. Written Statement of Ms. Bridget Cambria, Esq and Family Detention Testimonies in Pennsylvania
  16. Lutheran Immigrant Refugee Services (LIRS) and The Women's Refugee Commission (WRC), Locking Up Family Values, Again

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