Spotlight: Microsoft and Angelina Jolie team up to help unaccompanied immigrant children

LatinaLista — The issue of unaccompanied minors —  those children who cross the border, either on their own or with a coyote or another family member not their parent but who get caught by Border Patrol and are run through the legal system with the intent of deporting them — has been a pet issue of Latina Lista since we first heard about the abuses by our government towards the deportation of these children.
Most of these children come here in search of their parents. Yet, even after being reunited with them, because they were caught by authorities before finding their parents, they are subjected to the immigration process which means they must go before a judge. It’s reported that approximately 8,000 children are subjected to immigration proceedings and separated from their parents. Half of these children do not have money for legal counsel and so suffer the consequences.
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Those children who do have legal counsel usually fare better.
In a surprising partnership, the computer software giant Microsoft has teamed with actress Angelina Jolie to form a new national children’s advocacy initiative called Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).
The mission is to provide pro bono legal counsel to unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. so that they receive fair and compassionate treatment in the immigration system. More than 25 law firms and corporate law departments have joined the initiative.
Right now, KIND is in nine cities: Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Boston, New York, Newark, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Since it is a volunteer-based organization, they have a need for volunteers to help with clerical duties, serve as translators and, of course, legal help.
The organization’s immediate goal is to work closely with private law firms, corporate legal departments and their attorneys to recruit, train, and mentor attorneys to represent children in those cities where there is a KIND office.
The ultimate goal is that by 2010, KIND will represent more than 2,100 children annually: every unaccompanied child where KIND is located who would not otherwise have an attorney.

“These children often have nothing; no money, no support and no family, yet they come to America seeking its promises of a better life,” states Angelina Jolie. “But many end up becoming lost, traumatized, and ultimately forgotten. KIND provides each of them with the ability to have their legal rights protected and their voices heard.”

They are the smallest victims with the most to lose and for too long have been harshly ignored. The time for compassion and moral duty is long overdue.
Latina Lista applauds and endorses KIND’s mission.

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25 Comments

  1. Sandra said:

    First, I would ask why in the world would parents leave their children behind? We keep hearing about the horrors of seperation of families and yet these parents are the ones doing it themselves.
    I have a suggestion. These kids probably don’t just take off looking for their parents without some kind of idea of where they are. Let the kids lead them to their parents and then deport the whole family if they are illegally here. Solves the problem of kids being deported by themselves, doesn’t it?

  2. Dave Bennion said:

    This is a hopeful development. This kind of visibility may help people see immigrant rights issues as human rights issues. Many of the issues are the same, often the only difference is which side of the border the kids are on.

  3. Michaela said:

    I am sick of everyone trying to portray these illegals as such wonderful and kind people. What kind of parent would leave their children behind to fend for themselves? That is despicable and so is Angelina Jolie.

  4. Marisa Treviño said:

    Michaela, Your responses underscore what this world lacks — empathy and what this world is full of — ignorance. Every parent that comes here is not fending “for themselves.” They are working to send money home to their families and children. Why else do people object to the amount of remittances being sent home?
    You ask what kind of parent would leave their child behind? It’s a question I’ve often asked when two parents decide to enlist in our military and must leave their children behind. Since we don’t have the draft, enlistment is totally voluntary and while we would all like to think it’s for patriotic reasons, the real reason for many is to be eligible for the benefits that will allow them to “fend for themselves” and their families when their duty is up.
    There’s nothing despicable about the KIND campaign but I find it extremely sad that you think it’s OK to subject these children to a process that is very traumatizing when all they wanted was to reunite with their parents or family members.

  5. Sandra said:

    No one said that the parents were fending for themselves. It is the parents leaving their children behind in Mexico that are left fending for themselves. They are choosing to seperate their own children from themselves by doing so. Yet after they get here and their children are detained, there is all kinds of screaming of seperation of families. My head just did a complete axis around my shoulders on that one! People who write such nonsense must think we are pretty dumb.
    I think there should always be at least one parent left caring for their children and I don’t care who you are either.
    Once again, it is the parents that are traumatizing their children. Put the blame where the blame belongs, on the parents shoulders.

  6. Michaela said:

    Marisa
    Michaela, Your responses underscore what this world lacks — empathy and what this world is full of — ignorance. Every parent that comes here is not fending “for themselves.” They are working to send money home to their families and children. Why else do people object to the amount of remittances being sent home?
    Marisa, I have plenty of empathy and I am not ignorant. Where is your empathy for the legal citizens of this country? I don’t see that from you. What about all the poverty stricken people in our own country? Don’t you care about them?
    You always act as if these illegals are being forced to come here. They are not being forced. It is their choice and it is a choice that they will have to live with the consequences. I am profoundly tired of this idea that it is somehow their “right” to illegally enter our country. Where does this arrogant attitude originate? It is appalling.
    You never have and I suspect never will answer two simple question – what RIGHT do other people have to invade our SOVEREIGN country? Why does Mexico have the right to enforce their immigration laws, BUT WE DON’T???????

  7. Marisa Treviño said:

    Michaela, you ask where my empathy is for the poverty stricken legal citizens of this country. Well, you’re right. I don’t have a lot of empathy for people who have the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and choose not to do so. The undocumented immigrants are forced to come here by the economic situations in their country. They don’t have the same opportunities in their native countries to lift themselves out of poverty as there exists here.
    I’m not talking about the working poor among legal citizens because many of us can be classified in that category but even if we think of ourselves in those terms, our standard of living is still tons better than the immigrants who come here to work for their families back home.

  8. Evelyn said:

    Tell me Sorryazz and Sandra
    What would you do if your children were hungry and you couldn’t feed them because you lived in a country that had a president who was propelled to power by a greedy rich gov., in a country next to yours so they could steal the natural resources and wealth of your country in collusion with the corrupt president, and also flood your country with cheap corn leaving you without a job and your town without infrastructure.
    Tell me what would you do. Let your children die of hunger? Follow your countries wealth to the nation who stole it, where you can work and provide food, education, and a roof over your families head.
    Would you have the courage to leave everything you have, and know, and all those you love behind, to travel to a Country whose language you dont speak, a country where you may be harassed and assaulted by people so ignorant they think if you aren’t white you aren’t American. Put yourselves in an immigrants shoes and see if you could measure up.
    Some how I doubt it. You just spew regurgitated Bull Shit and Pat yourselves on the back!
    Get ready then, First sell every thing the family has of value and borrow the rest from the local lone shark, to be paid back with high interest rates once you are working in the U.S.
    Start out by bus, train and walking paying unscrupulous corrupt cops along the way, who would rob you if they could have found the secret place where you hid most all the money. After six or seven days you get to the border. Find the coyote another two days are gone. You still think they should bring their children?
    The coyote says time to go and takes you to the river, everyone be quiet in the bushes, one hour two hours pass they tell you to cross, the water is deep, the bushes cut you, the desert would have been 100 times worse, people die there! Out of the water running to the van with children in tow. No, never would have made it. It’s not a trip to Disney world.
    The van stops, this is the hard part. Start walking, it’s night time — walk till the sun comes up. Everyone is told to stop and rest sleep. Tired! Worried! Hungry! Still think they should bring the kids? The sun is going down, walking 3 hours pass, told to stop. Immigration up ahead. The dogs are barking, I owe the lone shark, if I get caught how are we going to pay him. Diosito ayudanos!
    The dogs quit barking. This goes on two or three days more. Would you have brought your children? Would you have let them die of hunger? Would you have made the trip alone, found a place to stay, a job, perhaps some friends to help with childcare. What would you do Sorryazz? Sandra what would you do?

  9. Evelyn said:

    I hope you dont say that because we steal their wealth, they dont have a right to have families.

  10. Sandra said:

    So then you don’t think that a poor, less educated American is doing anything wrong if he breaks the law to feed himself and his family by stealing or some other criminal activity? You are wrong if you think that there are all the opportunities in the world for America’s poor.
    That is what these illegals are doing. They are breaking our immigration laws and stealing jobs from Americans by working for less. Many commit more serious crimes after coming here or were criminals in their own country.
    This is where you go wrong. No one has the right to violate another country’s soverign borders no matter what their reason is. No country should be obligated to take in a foreigner just because they are needy. Especially not by the millions and against the will of the people.

  11. Michaela said:

    Marisa, the question remains:
    What gives these people the right to come to our country illegally? We have enough poverty in our own country and it is NOT, as you insinuate, that our own poor are lazy. They are not! They are being overlooked by their own government in favor of those here illegally. That is just plain wrong.

  12. Michaela said:

    Evelyn:
    Tell me what would you do. Let your children die of hunger?
    –I would use the 2 or $3,000 I managed to save up for a coyote to feed my children Evelyn! That is a no brainer. I would never, ever leave my children behind, NEVER.
    Evelyn
    Follow your countries wealth to the nation who stole it
    –It is pathetic that the Mexican govt has and continues to brainwash their young children with these lies. It is pathetic that the Mexican govt continues to teach their children that the evil U.S. stole their land. It is pathetic that the Mexican govt cannot face the fact that the U.S. paid for the land that is now ours. It is sad that the Mexican govt will not care for their own people. That is a national disgrace. Put the blame where it truly lies Evelyn. The U.S. can and does allow immigrants into our sovereign country, with permission. We are not “obligated” to do this!

  13. Sandra said:

    “Would you have the courage to leave everything you have, and know, and all those you love behind, to travel to a Country whose language you dont speak, a country where you may be harassed and assaulted by people so ignorant they think if you aren’t white you aren’t American. Put yourselves in an immigrants shoes and see if you could measure up.”
    This statement is an outright lie! I know of very few Americans who don’t consider everyone with citizenship papers regardless of their ethinc background or skin color, as Americans. This is the way the pro-illegals argue. They use the race card and lies because that is all they have. They aren’t “immigrants” either!
    Most Mexicans in Mexico are not starving. They live on very little but most are not starving. Another lie that the pro-illegals tell all the time. If I lived in a country that was economically oppressed MOSTLY DUE TO THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT’S CORRUPTION, I would fight to seek change, not sneak into another country against the wishes of the citizens of that country, irregardless of any error of the ways of that government. Our government hasn’t represented OUR OWN PEOPLE for decades now! The citizens of this country have a right to have immigration laws just like any other country does.

  14. Marisa Treviño said:

    Do they have a right to come here? From a legal standpoint, no. From a humanitarian standpoint, yes. They don’t come here to commit crimes but to do work that they don’t have back in their own countries. Am I insinuating the poor are lazy? No but I am saying that the poor still have opportunities available to them that these immigrants don’t have where they come from.

  15. Michaela said:

    “Do they have a right to come here? From a legal standpoint, no. From a humanitarian standpoint, yes.”
    They do not have a right to come here “illegally” even from a humanitarian standpoint Marisa. They have a right to come to this country only if they do it the right way, period. Just as I would not have a right to enter Mexico illegally because I was poor or whatever. It seems U.S. citizens respect Mexico’s immigration laws more than Mexican’s respect OUR immigration laws.
    The Mexican government needs to start treating their own people humanely. I will say it again, it is beyond despicable the way the Mexican government treats it’s poor.

  16. Evelyn said:

    HA! HA! HA! Neither one of you could answer my question!
    What would you do?
    When put on the spot just spew and regurgitate more BS!
    This post of yours told everyone why you dont want immigrants in this country Sandra.
    Just cut the chase and speak the truth. Why make up all the excuses?
    That post spoke volumes. It told us your feelings and why you feel the way you do . Dont be a hypocrite and act innocent. Accept the racism you defend and get used to being seen as an outcast.
    Who knows maybe some day you can be healed.
    Sandra said
    “We cannot retain our soverieghty that way and for every piece of data you provide that when immigrants come in large numbers from mostly one ethnic group that they are assimilating, I can provide just as much data to the contrary. They are colonizing rather than assimilating and with their high birthrates will become the majority ethnic group in a few short years. If you think that we are going to stay the same country culturally with this phenomonum, then I’d like to know what you are smoking.”

  17. Sandra said:

    It isn’t our country’s obligation to provide opportunities for the illegals who come here. We only have an obligation to those who come legally. If humanitarism were the only criteria used to form our immigration policies we would have the whole worlds poor here. What you don’t get is that is exactly why we only allow legal immigration in controlled numbers.
    If illegals don’t have much opportunity in their own countries, then they should fight for them there. Americans didn’t make this a great country by not fighting for our country.
    Some that come are already criminals. Some that come do commit other crimes. That is just a fact! We don’t need to add to our own citizen criminal element that we already have here. When one comes here illegally, there are no background checks and no health checks either. Working with a fake or stolen I.D. is a felony! Sorry but you will never convince me to allow the reward of an amnesty including paying any penalities for entering our country illegally. It didn’t work in 1986 and it won’t work again. All this does is tell the rest of the world’s poor who want to do the same that all they will have to do is wait for yet another amnesty and it makes us look like fools for not securing our borders and allowing this to happen in the first place.

  18. Marisa Treviño said:

    By the same token, the progress of this country was built on the backs of immigrant labor, both legal and undocumented. Please don’t make the assumption that all the undocumented who come here are criminals in the true sense of the word (people who intend to do harm to others) — that is an erroneous statement. If you have proof of it, please link to it.
    And when it comes to ID fraud, the majority of people prosecuted for doing it are American citizens.

  19. Sandra said:

    So what has that to do with it? That does not nullify our immigration laws. We have been a nation of Americans for several generations now. Those same Americans also built this nation. I find nothing honorable about illegals supposedly helping to build our country. They shouldn’t even be here. They are doing it for their own monetary gain anyway. I never implied nor assumed that ALL the illegals are guilty of any other crimes other than entering our country illegally. Go back and read my post. I said SOME!
    Citizens and illegals should both be prosecuted for using fake or stolen I.D.’s. I never said otherwise. I don’t know the percentages of citizen vs illegals using or being prosecuted for those stolen documents (and I suspect you don’t know that either) but just as I pointed out in my post we have enough home grown criminals in our country we don’t need to add to the mix by leaving our borders wide open for more criminals to enter.
    Immigraton is a wonderful thing if immigrants enter legally and follow the rules. There are no acceptable excuses for doing otherwise.

  20. Michaela said:

    HA! HA! HA! Neither one of you could answer my question!
    What would you do?
    We BOTH answered your question Evelyn. You just didn’t like the answers but instead called us racists and hypocrites and stated maybe we would both be healed. Typical Evelyn response.
    Michaela
    –I would use the 2 or $3,000 I managed to save up for a coyote to feed my children Evelyn! That is a no brainer. I would never, ever leave my children behind, NEVER.
    Sandra
    If I lived in a country that was economically oppressed MOSTLY DUE TO THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT’S CORRUPTION, I would fight to seek change, not sneak into another country against the wishes of the citizens of that country, irregardless of any error of the ways of that government.

  21. Grandma said:

    Immigrants (Hispanics) and identity theft
    Randall Parker reports on an article by Steven Malanga on identity theft and illegal immigration. Malanga points out that the “epidemic” rise in ID theft has paralleled the rise in the number of immigrants (specifically illegal immigrants) in the US. Citizens who share their state with lots of immigrants are at the greatest risk of having their identities stolen:
    The top five states in terms of reported identity theft in 2007 all have large immigrant populations—the border states of Arizona, California, and Texas, as well as Florida and Nevada. … “To many law enforcement leaders in Arizona, this suggests that Arizona’s identity-theft epidemic is directly linked to the problem of illegal immigration,” says a recent report by Identity Theft 911, an Arizona company that helps businesses and individuals protect themselves.
    His observation can be stated more forcefully in another way. The correlation between a state’s ID theft victimization rate and its foreign-born population is a vigorous .75. That means more than half (56%) of the magnitude of the ID theft problem in a state is found by simply looking at the relative size of its non-native population. For each 1% increase in the proportion of a state population that is foreign-born, the number of ID theft victims per 100,000 people increases by three. Put in another way, for every 1% increase in the proportion of the total US population that is foreign-born, we can expect another 9,000 citizens to have their identities stolen each year.
    The other conventional social indicators of crime do not share anywhere near as strong a relationship: Economic inequality has no statistically significant relationship with ID crime, nor does the percentage of the population that is black, the average educational attainment of adults in a state, or a state’s poverty rate; a state’s violent crime rate correlates at .54 with ID theft victimization but that is largely a result of how strongly, at .78, the percentage of the population that is Hispanic correlates with it.
    The whiter the state, the less ID theft is a problem, as the percentage of a state’s population that is white inversely correlates with victimization at .64. The data are here.
    The targets tend to be affluent, with households of annual incomes over $75,000 the most likely to be hit by ID thieves. As income increases, so does the likelihood of being victimized. The racial variance among victims isn’t large, but whites (5.6%) are more likely to suffer than blacks (4.8%) or Hispanics (4.4%) are.
    In addition to the headache of trying to recover one’s identity, there is a financial cost as well. Illegal immigrants are more likely to steal information that ends up being the most costly:
    People who pilfer legitimate identities in these states are much more likely than in other parts of the country to use them to gain employment unlawfully—the most common reason that illegal aliens steal personal information. In Arizona, for instance, 36 percent of all identity theft is for employment purposes, compared with only 5 percent in Maine, a state with far fewer illegal aliens.
    The average victim was setback $1,620 in ’05 according to the Bureau of Justice, but the kind of theft that illegal immigrants are more likely than natives to engage in–the theft of personal information like Social Security numbers–cost each victim an average of $4,850. The filching of credit cards, in contrast, brought an average monetary cost of $980.
    It’s not surprising that those who flout residency laws to live in the US quasi-anonymously are going to have relatively few qualms about stealing the identities of American citizens. By failing to control who enters the country, we are assenting to ignorance of who is here. By failing to punish and remove illegal immigrants who are in the US, we are bringing more identity theft on ourselves.

  22. Evelyn said:

    Michaela
    –I would use the 2 or $3,000 I managed to save up for a coyote to feed my children Evelyn! That is a no brainer. I would never, ever leave my children behind, NEVER.
    E
    If you did that, your stupidity of using the money the lone shark gave you to come to the U.S. and using it to feed your family just killed them, and yourself. Did you think the money is free It was supposed to be paid back GENIUS. POW your dead and so is your family.
    Sandra
    If I lived in a country that was economically oppressed MOSTLY DUE TO THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT’S CORRUPTION, I would fight to seek change, not sneak into another country against the wishes of the citizens of that country, irregardless of any error of the ways of that government.
    This answer is a registration of more BS! Sandra has already been shown how the Bush Administration fixed the election in Mexico so the U.S. gov. can steal the wealth of that Country.
    When their people have tried to organize and over throw the corrupt gov. The U.S. gov. stepped in and helped the corrupt Mexican Gov. kill the students and people. See — Massacre at Tlateloco
    Every excuse both of you use is null and void it has to do with HATE. That is the reason you dont want the immigrants here, You hate Hispanics!
    Stop making excuses and tell the truth!

  23. Sandra said:

    It isn’t racist for a country’s citizens to want to retain its demographic makeup, culture and language and not lose it because of illegal immigration into their country (that isn’t natural!). Anyone who says so, is an idiot and a liar.

  24. Carmen said:

    KIND is not about the laws, language, illegal aliens, ignorant parents, coyotes, or our laws or your laws. If we only new the reasons why people do what they do, we would not be in this situation. KIND is just about KIDS IN NEED of DEFENSE. We do have that in the United States for our poor kids too. We have soup kitchens and all kinds of shelters to protect – mainly children – and their families. Again, we don’t always know why adult parents, American or not, end up in those situations but, the fact remains, the kids are little, innocent victims by absolutely no fault of their own. Also, as I understood by the article, KIND is not only for Latinos or Mexican children. We, as humans, have to have that voice inside our heads and our harts that impulsively and instinctively want to drive danger away from the children. The article says: “The mission is to provide pro bono legal counsel to unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. so that they receive fair and compassionate treatment in the immigration system”. It is not to change the laws or to open our doors to their criminal parents that speak no English and should go back home. They may, in fact, end up going back home. But, while here, in our home, our land of opportunity and fairness, we must put everything aside and do our American best to treat these children as the innocent victims that they are.

  25. Sandra said:

    I don’t believe that these children are not being treated in a humane manner. The pro-illegals would like to make us think so though to gain sympathy for the whole illegal alien family and justify their continued presence in our country.

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