Make sure to check out this week’s Social Justice Tuesday & these other events!

February 2: Social Justice Tuesday – Theater, the Law and Crafting “The Reckoning, Pecora for the Public”

SJTA summary framework of how lawyers have been portrayed on stage, in TV, and the movies; how those portrayals temepred Neil‘s crafting of his new one-person play about the 1933 US Senate hearings into the 1929 stock market crash; the role of Ferdinand Pecora as chief counsel. A short recitation from the play the actor, Bob De Dea.

Tuesday, February 2
12:301:20 pm
Room 127

Speaker: Neil Proto, Laywer, Lecturer, Author

If you would like lunch please RSVP via Symplicity or RSVP by 12:00 pm Monday, February 1, 2016.

February 4: Summer Internship: Alaska Legal Services’ Pro Bono Training Academy  

 12:30-1:20pm, Room 118

revised_alaska_legal_logo-0120web20transp2010-13Are you looking for a summer opportunity that allows you to give back while you’re gaining substantive experience? Do you have an interest in poverty law and/or Native American & Alaska Native law? On Thursday, February 4, at 12:30 in room 118 we will be joined by Sarah M. Carver, an attorney from Alaska Legal Services Corporation and the Program Coordinator for the Pro Bono Training Academy (PBTA). Ms. Carver will share with us the mission and vision of the PBTA, speak about summer opportunities for law students, and talk about her experience working in on pro bono cases in Alaska.

 Alaska Legal Services Corporation is hiring 1L and 2L interns to work on a variety of projects for their Pro Bono Training Academy (PBTA). Interns will provide pro bono representation in complex matter to clients in and around Anchorage, Alaska. They will assist in research and writing projects for the PBTA and will be involved in the community education efforts of PBTA’s mission.

 February 3: Public Service Law Connections Breakfast

7:30-8:30am, Room 11514090438714_2c1db12993_o.jpg

  • Interested in pursuing a career in public service law?
  • Want to hear from and meet attorneys from non-profit advocacy organizations and government agencies in an informal setting?
  • Working on getting up earlier in the morning?
    Join us for an informal panel discussion & light breakfast with:

    Katara Jordan, Columbia Legal Services;

    Jeannie Gorman, US Department of Labor;

    Janet Gwilym, Kids in Need of Defense;

    Representative, US JAG Marine Corps


    Please RSVP via Symplicity or by Feb. 2

    Don’t miss out on an opportunity to hear about their career paths and their hot public service career tips!

February 10: Learn About the Findings and Implications of the 2015 Civil Legal Needs Study Update

oclalogoThe findings of the 2015 Civil Legal Needs Study Update will be formally presented to the Washington State Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  The presentation will be introduced by Justice Charles Wiggins, Chair of the Supreme Court’s Civil Legal Needs Update Committee and facilitated by John McKay, longtime champion of civil equal justice and Visiting Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law.  The presentation will involve a review of the methodology and core findings of the 2015 CLNS Update, presentations by low-income Washingtonians who have faced many of the problems that are documented in the study, and a discussion of the fiscal, policy and service delivery implications of the study. 

  •  What:         Presentation of the Findings of the 2015 Civil Legal Needs Study Update
  • When:        Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Where:       Washington State Supreme Court
  • Time:          2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

 The presentation will be open to the public.  We look forward to sharing the important facts relating to the civil justice challenges facing low-income people in Washington State and the road we need to take to address the Justice Gap documented in the study. 

February 22: Michael Morton and the Legal Process

michael20morton20photo20by20jorge20sanhueza-lyon20kutMichael Morton will speak on prosecutorial integrity and the Innocence Project at this dinner event.  Pre-registration is required.  Click HERE to register online.

City of Seattle releases “Race & Social Justice Community Survey”

New CAGJ Webinar: “Linking Food Justice to Trade Policy”

3815441846_4f038805b5_o_dWebinar: “Linking Food Justice to Trade Policy”
A 30 min. webinar (on you-tube) about how food justice and food sovereignty are threatened by new (so-called) free-trade agreements,  the TPP/Trans-Pacific Partnership, and TTIP/Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

  • About Food Sovereignty & Fair Trade, What is Fair about Free Trade? What is Fast Track?
  • Corporate Influence on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Impacts of NAFTA on Mexico, FTAs and the Domestic Economy, Currently proposed Trade Agreements

After Overpayment Of Benefits, VA Wanted $38,000 Back – Patricia Murphy

clayhull-2015-8edit_custom-afe9e1889c09769894f8e31e7c7abe20fabeafa0-s800-c85Clay Hull has a stubborn sense of justice.

After an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq ended his time in the military, he fought the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs over the amount of compensation they awarded him for his injuries.

“If I’m in the wrong, I’ll admit it. But I’m not going to let somebody just push me around, especially the VA,” he says.

It was complicated and drawn out, but Hull now gets the maximum the VA pays for disability.

The money pays for his mortgage, support for his young son and feed for the livestock on Hull’s 3 acres in south central Washington — 2 1/2 hours from Seattle.

He has a day job as a shipping clerk and then comes home to work on his place. He’s currently fixing a fence that runs along his property line.

Four years after he moved in, Hull went to prison on a weapons charge. Hull notified the VA he was in prison.

Continue reading here

Photo credit: Gordon King for NPR

AP: Feds imperiled many migrant kids during surge

4556659182_c4981bc62d_o_dLOS ANGELES — As tens of thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America crossed the border in search of safe harbor, overwhelmed U.S. officials weakened child protection policies, placing some young migrants in homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work for little or no pay, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Without enough beds to house the record numbers of young arrivals, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered its safety standards during border surges in the last three years to swiftly move children out of government shelters and into sponsors’ homes. The procedures were increasingly relaxed as the number of young migrants rose in response to spiraling gang and drug violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to emails, agency memos and operations manuals obtained by AP, some under the Freedom of Information Act.

First, the government stopped fingerprinting most adults seeking to claim the children. In April 2014, the agency stopped requiring original copies of birth certificates to prove most sponsors’ identities. The next month, it decided not to complete forms that request sponsors’ personal and identifying information before sending many of the children to sponsors’ homes. Then, it eliminated FBI criminal history checks for many sponsors.

Continue reading here.

Photo credit:

It’s here! The Race and Social Justice Community Survey

official_seal_of_seattle The City of Seattle wants to hear from YOU! Seattle has launched its second Race and Social Justice Community Survey. The survey measures how people who live, work or go to school in Seattle think the City is doing on jobs, housing, meeting community needs and race and equity. The information collected will help guide the City’s racial equity work and determine areas for City government to prioritize through its policies and programs. The survey is anonymous and takes about 12 minutes to complete.

Take the survey: 

The survey runs for three weeks from January 13th through Friday, February 5th. To ensure representation from Seattle’s diverse communities and those without access to the internet, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is conducting targeted outreach and partnering with community organizations. The survey is also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Amharic, Somali, Oromo and Chinese. The links to translated surveys will be available starting the week of Jan 19th at

Survey results will be shared at a community meeting in the spring of 2015. 

To learn more visit or contact Brenda Anibarro at (206) 684-4514 or email

PILA Corner: The Fight to End Veteran Homelessness and the Role of Legal Aid

The Fight to End Veteran Homelessness and the Role of Legal Aid

By Mariah Hanley, UW Law, JD Class of 2016

 The Need.

DF-SC-84-11899The Department of Veterans Affairs and the White House set a goal to end veteran homelessness by December 31, 2015. Seattle, despite its ample resources for veterans and concerted effort to bring landlords and veterans seeking housing together through Operation WelcomeOneHome, was unsuccessful in ending veteran homelessness. 1,100 veterans were expected to experience homelessness in Seattle in 2015, and VA and homeless client databases found 662 homeless veterans in Seattle as of August 2015. According to a recent study, five out of the top ten needs for both male and female homeless veterans are legal in nature. Veterans with a less-than-Honorable characterization of service are seven times more likely to become homeless than those with an Honorable characterization of service.

The Services.

At the Seattle VA Medical Center, the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACT) works to address the health and housing needs of homeless veterans. Together, this team of doctors, nurses, housing and benefits counselors, mental health providers, and social workers aim to address the interconnected needs of homeless veterans. However, this team is missing a lawyer- or a team of lawyers. The Medical-Legal Partnership model, long used in children’s hospitals to address the health-harming legal needs of low-income patients and families, has begun to be used in veterans healthcare settings to address the needs of vulnerable veterans, including those veterans currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  HPACTs, located in hospitals around the nation, already have the capacity to identify and treat the social service needs of veterans; developing the capacity to identify and treat legal needs is only a step further towards ending veteran homelessness. 

How You and I Can Make a Difference.

As a 3L who has interned both at Northwest Justice Project’s Veterans Project and its Medical-Legal Partnership, I strongly believe in the Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) approach to the delivery of legal services, especially for homeless or at-risk veterans. This approach treats legal problems that are affecting a person’s health, trains healthcare providers to identify health-harming legal needs, transforms the delivery of healthcare and legal services into one unified system, and works to prevent health-harming legal needs on an individual and population scale. Rather than work with only one issue (for example, only addressing public benefits issues), Medical-Legal Partnerships address the wide range of legal problems that can determine an individual’s health status. Homelessness can be prevented or addressed using legal interventions, and Medical-Legal Partnerships can provide these legal interventions.

To end veteran homelessness, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Legal Services Corporation, law schools, and legal service organizations must continue to create partnerships between the healthcare and social services providers that work with homeless veterans every day and the legal aid providers who can address some of the most pressing needs of these vulnerable veterans. The VA must consistently support the provision of legal services within their medical centers, legal services providers must develop cultural competency and best practices for working with veterans. Legal services providers should dedicate any available resources to ensuring that the most needy of the veterans in their community have access to legal services, whether through a Veterans Unit or Veterans Project, a dedicated Medical-Legal Partnership or through participation in events such as Stand Downs. The fight to end veteran homelessness will not be won without concerted efforts from every sector who works with veterans- the law included. 

American Health Lawyers Association Diversity Internship & other job opportunities for students and practicing attorneys

International Paraolympic Committee – Legal Counsel (Sport, Regulation & Compliance)

olyipcThe International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC supervises the organisation of the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as International Federation for ten sports, for which it supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions. The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and to developing sport opportunities for all persons with an impairment from the beginner to elite level. The IPC aims to make for a more inclusive society for people with an impairment through para-sport and promotes the Paralympic values, which include courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

The IPC offers the position of a full-time IPC Legal Counsel (Sport, Regulation & Compliance) (f/m) at the IPC Headquarters in Bonn, Germany, starting as soon as possible. This is a unique opportunity for the appropriately qualified and motivated lawyer to work at the cutting edge of sport and to influence the development of one of the most dynamic sport organisations in the world.

If you are interested in the position and your profile meets our requirements, please send your CV and cover letter in English to (IPC Human Resources Senior Manager) by February 8, 2016. Please also state your earliest possible starting date as well as your salary expectations (please give a precise figure in Euro).

International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative at Georgetown University Law Center

georgetownThe International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative, based at Georgetown University Law Center, is seeking a program manager to establish and oversee a Secretariat to manage its work promoting the recognition and protection of the rights of migrants through research, education, and advocacy grounded in the IMBR – a comprehensive, coherent articulation of the legal rights of all international migrants. (IMBR job posting_to circulate). The program manager will join the growing Initiative at an exciting time and will be responsible for piloting a new advocacy campaign to promote the IMBR in the Americas and to expand its partnerships in the region.

The program manager should be based in Washington, DC, and will receive support from and access to resources at the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute. Please note this is an 18-month full-time independent consultancy and not an academic appointment. The salary will be $75,750 for the 18-month period.

Applications are due by January 29, 2016. More information about the IMBR Initiative can be found here.


ahlaAs part of AHLA’s initiative to cultivate diversity among attorneys practicing health law, the Association provides opportunities for talented law students of diverse backgrounds so they can learn more about this segment of the legal profession.

The eight?week internship provides interns numerous networking opportunities with leading health care attorneys, attendance at the Association’s Annual Meeting where top?notch CLE sessions on the latest in health and life sciences law are offered, and various legal research/writing projects for AHLA’s Professional Resources and Public Interest departments.

One of the most frequent observations that former interns note about AHLA’s Diversity Internship program is how the experience has opened their eyes to the wide range of career options available to them as aspiring health care attorneys. AHLA is now accepting applications. Application deadline is Monday, February 8, 2016. To apply for this internship, send a formal cover letter and resume to Cynthia Conner, Vice President of Professional Resources, at Only candidates chosen for an interview will be notified. No phone calls, please.

See more here.  Application Deadline: 02/08/2016 – See more at:

KIDS IN NEED OF DEFENSE (KIND) – Pro Bono Recruitment and Training Manager (Washington, DC)

zuno-client-kindKids in Need of Defense (KIND) is an innovative partnership among the Microsoft Corporation, Angelina Jolie and other interested philanthropists, law firms and corporate supporters. KIND is dedicated to providing both pro bono representation and positive systemic changes in law and policy to benefit unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children. Launched in fall 2008, KIND is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has field offices across the U.S.

KIND’s Pro Bono Recruitment and Training Manager will report to KIND’s Vice President for Legal Service and support KIND’s national recruitment and training efforts. The position is based out of the Washington DC office. Some travel to field offices may be required. Find job responsibilities & information about application materials here (Pro Bono Recruitment Training Manager).


seiuService Employees International Union (SEIU) has openings for part-time law clerks and full- and part-time externs during the 2016-2017 academic year, and for full-time law clerks in the Spring of 2016.

 SEIU is a progressive, dynamic and growing labor organization representing over 2 million members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, principally in the property service, public service, and health care fields.  Attorneys in SEIU’s Legal Department engage in innovative lawyering to further the organization’s interests in organizing new workers, improving working conditions, engaging in political action, and achieving social justice.  This includes representation of SEIU in litigation before courts and administrative agencies involving the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, election campaign finance laws, and local and state labor relations statutes. 

 Law clerks and externs in the SEIU Legal Department conduct legal research and draft legal memoranda, work with attorneys on pending litigation, attend hearings and conferences, and meet with union leaders. Generally, law clerks and externs are assigned to work in the Legal Department in Washington, D.C. However, a full-time law clerk may be assigned to work at a field location.  One or more of the summer clerks will be selected through the Peggy Browning Fund (

Apply Here:


logoOur Children’s Trust is a nonprofit organization seeking law student interns or externs who are interested in using the law to fight climate change. Internships (or externships) can be full time or part time, and the work can be done remotely or in our office in Eugene, Oregon. For the summer internship, preference will be given to law students who can commit to a 10-week, full-time internship.

The legal intern will directly support OCT’s legal efforts in local, state, federal, and/or international actions. The intern will be able to choose from a wide variety of projects to work on, which could include assisting attorneys around the country and the world in their legal efforts; working with experts; conducting legal and evidentiary research; drafting legal memoranda; drafting climate recovery ordinances; drafting, reviewing,and editing complaints, briefs, motions, and declarations; and assisting with discovery.

We rely heavily on legal interns and externs for these tasks, placing a premium on careful, accurate, and self-directed work. Each intern is responsible for monitoring their own workload. Julia Olson, OCT Executive Director and lead attorney on the case against the U.S. government, supervises the interns, providing themwith varied work experiences and holding regular legal meetings to review and discuss their work. The intern will be exposed to administrative, jurisdictional, statutory, and constitutional issues in multiple jurisdictions. This is an unprecedented opportunity for a law student to be part of a cutting-edge legal strategy and work with some of the top attorneys and scientists from around the world to address the climate crisis.


a2f83e_e51c4f9b115c4dd59ac0f02764e40178CCLS provides high quality legal services, from advice and brief services to full representation, and education to members of the client community and foster a cooperative and productive relationship with the staff and community groups. A commitment to impact litigation, team work and community lawyering is essential. 


  • Provide legal representation to clients consistent with CCLS program priorities.
  • Participate in planning and strategy meetings with project partners.
  • Work with CCLS advocates to ensure the delivery of high quality legal service
  • May need to participate in weekly CCLS case review meetings.
  • Identify and analyze systemic issues through individual casework, reviews of the CCLS data and participation in statewide networks of legal services advocates.
  • Interface with other CCLS and California advocates on issues of mutual interest.
  • Co-counsel client cases with other legal staff.
  • Work with client groups and community-based service providers to identify community lawyering opportunities.
  • Participate in community outreach and education events.
  • Adhere to CCLS policies and procedures.
  • Attend continuing legal education seminars and keep abreast of changes in the law.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Please e-mail cover letter (in your cover letter please indicate the CCLS office location you would prefer), resume, and three references along with a legal writing sample (no more than 10 pages) to: Manuel Romero, HR Director (

Don’t miss the PILA Auction and these other events!

January 25: “Where Can Your Legal Education Take You?”

globalPlease join us on Monday, 1/25 at 12:30 in room 117 of William H. Gates Hall for an information session hosted by UW Law Global Affairs.

UW law students have many opportunities to study law in foreign countries during their studies, in preparation for a legal career in an increasingly globalized society.

The session will introduce various summer- and quarter-based options available through the Law School and UW, and some key considerations.

January 26: Social Justice Tuesday -Interested In A Career in International Law?

SJTInterested in international criminal law or working in the international courts? Wondering how to step from the local scene to the international stage? Come hear UW alum Kyle Wood speak about his last ten years prosecuting war criminals in the Hague. Mr. Wood recently moved back to Seattle after working in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Prior to that, he worked in the criminal division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

If you would like lunch please RSVP via Symplicity or RSVP by 12:00 pm Monday, January 25, 2016.

February 1: American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) hosts Rachel Pulda!

ailalogoLaw students are invited to join the Washington State Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for a AILA meeting especially for law students and new attorneys with Rachel Pulda from AILA in Washington, DC. Please bring your lunch and come join local immigration attorneys for our monthly AILA meeting and training, followed by a session and Q&A especially for students and new attorneys. AILA attorneys look forward to meeting law students interested in immigration law!


February 1st at Davis Wright Tremaine (1201 3rd Ave #2200, Seattle, WA)

RSVP by January 29th: Brittany Lowe (AILA-WA Co-Chair for the New Member’s Division)

February 5: 21st Annual PILA Benefit Auction: Off the Races! 

cardraise2At the Husky Union Building (HUB)
Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Register and Purchase tickets here.

Can’t attend this year? You can also donate directly to PILA here.

If you would like to donate items to be auctioned off at this year’s action, please fill out this form.

Why donate to PILA? 2015 Impact Statement

Where is the auction this year, anyway? Directions.

February 23:”Doing Race Better: Race and the Reform of Urban Schools” Featuring Charles M. Payne

payne_346x310How do racial dynamics shape urban schools and school systems? Why does the dominant discourse often define race as a problem? How can taking race more fully into account empower practice?

Please join the University of Washington School of Social Work for an important conversation about these issues with Dr. Charles M. Payne, author of So Much Reform, So Little Change and the forthcoming Schooling the Ghetto: Fifty Years of “Reforming” Urban Schools.

Prior to the lecture, School of Social Work Dean Eddie Uehara will host Dr. Payne and special guests for a reception with hors d’oeuvres and wine.

7:30 p.m., February 23 — Kane Hall
Reception at 6 p.m. in Kane Hall, Walker-Ames Room
Your nametag from the reception will guarantee your seat at the lecture!

RSVP by February 9 to Maya Trachtenberg at 206-543-3532 or

Attorneys: Consider joining one of WSBA’s committees, boards, & panels

Application deadline: March 1, 2016

Applications are now being accepted through from members interested in serving on WSBA’s committees, boards and panels. Committee service gives you an opportunity to contribute to the legal community and your profession, a chance to get involved with issues you care about, and a way to connect with other lawyers around the state. There are openings on 23 different committees, boards, and panels, including the Court Rules and Procedures Committee, the Judicial Recommendation Committee, the Disciplinary Board and the Hearing Officer Panel. Most positions begin Oct. 1. A small number of positions are open to judicial, emeritus and/or inactive members.

The application deadline is Thursday, March 1, 2016. For more information, see the Committees application in myWSBA/My Profile, email, or call Pam Inglesby, WSBA communications services operations manager, at 206-727-8226 or 800-945-9722, ext. 8226.

What are some of the needs of low-income LGBT folks?


9178644107_da1654e3ed_oLike all of the people Legal Services NYC represents, our LGBT clients lack resources and power. But low-income LGBT people are too often also at the margins of efforts to provide help: at the margins of the legal services community because they are LGBT, and at the margins of the mainstream LGBT movement because they are poor. It is time to change the status quo. This document is part of that change—for all of us at Legal Services NYC and, we hope, for many others.

Our LGBT Low-Income Civil Legal Needs Assessment (the “Assessment”) gives low-income LGBT people a direct voice in identifying the legal challenges they face. It presents data and stories from hundreds of low-income LGBT New Yorkers and their advocates. And it offers a series of findings to enhance advocacy for all low-income LGBT clients—including both overarching conclusions and specific findings in key poverty law practice areas: anti-discrimination, public assistance, housing, health care, immigration, family, employment, education, and veterans.

But here is our most important and most fundamental conclusion: Poverty is an LGBT issue. It is incumbent on those who care about the fight for LGBT justice, and those who care about fighting poverty, to take action.

Continue reading here. Photo credit:

UW Law Students: Consider attending Citizen University!

v7blijshUW Law Students have the opportunity to attend Citizen University again this year, March 18-19 here in Seattle.  Citizen University is the opportunity to Join hundreds of change-makers, activists, and catalysts in a cross disciplinary setting to learn about power, deepen your networks, and recharge your sense of purpose. In 2016 we’ll focus on race, identity, and the changing definition of what it means to be American.  This event is always invigorating.  If you would like to attend please email by February 1 at 9:00 a.m. to let us know why you would like to attend.

Photo credit:

Interested in a Volunteer Legal Internship at DOJ?  

2000px-seal_of_the_united_states_department_of_justice-svg1Every year, over 1,800 volunteer legal interns serve in Justice components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country.  Any law student enrolled at least half-time, and who has completed at least one semester of law school, is eligible to apply for a volunteer legal internship.

DOJ offices recruit for legal interns through vacancy announcements posted on the DOJ Legal Careers web page at announcement lists the applicable deadlines and requirements and students interested in volunteer internships at DOJ for spring and summer 2016 should apply now.  Students apply directly to each office in which they have an interest.  For more information, please watch our brief video with three tips for securing a legal internship at and visit our web page at

Your Federal Student Loans Just Got Easier to REPAYE

repaye-blogBeginning today, Federal Direct Loan borrowers can take advantage of a new repayment plan: REPAYE (the Revised Pay As You Earn Plan).

Some of you may be familiar with the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan, which caps payments at 10% of a borrower’s monthly income and forgives any remaining balance on your student loans after 20 years of qualifying repayment. But this plan is only for recent borrowers.

REPAYE solves this problem. Like the name implies, REPAYE has some similarities to PAYE. First and foremost, REPAYE, like PAYE, sets payments at no more than 10% of income. However, REPAYE—unlike PAYE— is available to Direct Loan borrowers regardless of when they took out their loans.

Continue reading here. Photo credit:

KIND: New Refugee Resettlement Program Important, but Limited Tool; U.S. Must Still Engage Robust Asylum Response

zuno-client-kindJanuary 13, 2016—
KIND welcomes the Obama Administration’s decision to engage with the United Nation Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to screen those fleeing extreme and growing violence in Central America to determine if they are eligible for U.S. protection as an important step toward recognition that the region is experiencing a refugee crisis. However, refugee resettlement is a limited response that must be accompanied by full and fair access to the U.S. asylum system for those Central American families and children who reach our borders, as well as more robust asylum responses from other countries in the region, such as Mexico.

A key to protection will be ensuring that claims are heard in a timely way so that a long term solution can be reached—whether it is resettlement in the U.S. or in another country in the region—as quickly as possible. This is particularly important for children as an uncertain fate is damaging to their development and well-being. Child protection officers and best interests determinations must also be built into the process for cases involving children.

Claims for refugee status must be analyzed with an acknowledgment of the many different types of claims involving threats or harm by gangs, narco-traffickers, and other organized criminal syndicates—including sexual and gender-based violence targeting both girls and boys. Additionally, children’s claims for protection must be examined with a child-sensitive lens that takes into account their development and particular vulnerability.

Continue reading here