February 5, 2013
As our nation’s leaders move forward with the important task of reforming the federal immigration system it is critical that they consider the specific needs of children and youth. Children of immigrants currently comprise 1 in 4 of all children in the U.S. and represent the fastest growing segment of the child population. The number of unaccompanied immigrant children entering the U.S. has also reached record-setting numbers in recent years, with more than 14,000 children coming into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in fiscal year 2012. Yet children are disregarded or intentionally excluded in current U.S. immigration policy. First Focus and the Women’s Refugee Commission led the effort to develop these principles for children in immigration reform to ensure that efforts at immigration reform consider the best interests of children and their families. More than 200 organizations representing children, immigrants, academia, faith communities, and Civil Rights have also endorsed these principles.