The Trump administration’s policies on immigration and deportation are increasing the risk of juvenile justice system-involvement and trauma among children and youth, according to advocates.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation just released an update to its 2014 guide, “Noncitizen Youth in the Juvenile Justice System,” in which it outlines policy and practice recommendations for city and state governments interfacing with federal immigration mandates.
“President Donald Trump’s executive orders and the Department of Homeland Security memoranda implementing them have created policies that affect youth directly and indirectly in multiple ways,” the report says.
The increased risk of juvenile justice involvement is caused by “making all undocumented immigrants a target for deportation, threatening to pull federal funding from so-called ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions and calling for more involvement of local law enforcement in immigration enforcement,” the report reads.
Over the past 12 months, immigrant parents have reported a reluctance to pursue services or otherwise engage in their communities in ways that might expose them to immigration officers or law enforcement. This includes the investigation of crimes committed against them, case-planning for system-involved children, and even sending children to school.
“These developments may jeopardize access to early care and education, health and nutrition services and other income-stabilizing support for children of immigrant parents,” the report says.
The guide is a product of Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a decades-long initiative aimed at helping states and counties lower their reliance on pre-trial detention. The guide says that youth are more vulnerable to deportation when they are detained.
Among its specific recommendations on immigration issues:
- Do not enforce detainer or hold requests made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- Do not enter into 287(g) agreements, which allow local law enforcement to act like immigration officers.
- Do not violate state confidentiality laws in sharing information with ICE.
- Help noncitizen youth obtain immigration status.
Courts have found some aspects of ICE detainer/hold requests unconstitutional and in violation of federal statutes, according to the report.
“State and local practices and policies can affect youths’ access to justice as well as their outcomes, including separation from family and community and removal from the United States, a future without legal status and the inability to gain work authorization or federal financial aid for college,” the report says.