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Guatemalan delegation focuses on needs of unaccompanied minors during meeting with UH Law Center Immigration Clinic, Rice and civic organizations

Guatemalan delegation discusses unaccompanied minors and immigration policy with local Houston civic organizations.

Guatemalan delegation discusses unaccompanied minors and immigration policy with local Houston civic organizations. 

July 26, 2022 – The University of Houston Law Center’s Immigration Clinic met with a delegation of congressional members from Guatemala at the Center for the United States and Mexico at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy to discuss unaccompanied minors and immigration policy.

 “This discussion and the Immigration Clinic’s participation reflects the University of Houston Law Center’s commitment to serving our region and providing our expertise in order to contribute to a more efficient and equitable legal system particularly for some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals,” said R. Parker Sheffy, Immigration Clinic supervising attorney.

The delegation discussed the immigration system and laws affecting immigrants, particularly unaccompanied minors. They also detailed the conditions in which immigrants are placed and the processes which they navigate once they enter the United States. A recent piece from The Marshall Project detailed substandard conditions in border patrol facilities where now 1 in 3 migrants is a minor.

Sheffy and experts from the Baker Institute Center for the United States and Mexico both provided recommendations to the congressional delegation around how to assist in the process and empower Guatemalan nationals. 

The topic of unaccompanied minors and immigrants from Guatemala is particularly relevant to the work of the Law Center’s Immigration Clinic. Data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services shows Harris County as the leading relocation destination.

“More unaccompanied children are relocated to Harris County than any other county in the nation, and Houston is home to the nation’s second largest Guatemalan population, a population that will continue to grow,” Sheffy said. “The Immigration Clinic’s participation is a recognition of our commitment and, more importantly, allows our advocacy to impact many thousands of lives for the better.”

The congressional delegation voiced concerns around the difficulties unaccompanied minors face and reinforced a commitment toward implementing the suggested policies and processes that will serve to protect and empower minors.

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