SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 1, 2021 SUBMITTED INPUT An NGO Input for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the rights of the child and family reunification, jointly submitted by the Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University School of Law & the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, et al. SUBMITTED BY Center for the Human Rights of Children Loyola University Chicago, School of Law 25 E. Pearson St. Chicago, IL 60611, USA Katherine Kaufka Walts, JD, Director Sarah J. Diaz, JD, LLM, Associate Director Abigail Mitchell, 2L, School of Law Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights 2245 S. Michigan Ave. #301 Chicago, IL 60616 Gladis Molina, JD, Executive Director Jennifer Nagda, JD, Policy Director 1 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Written for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in preparation for her report to the Human Rights Council on “the rights of the child and family reunification” in response to the growing human rights concerns affecting children separated from their families in cross-border situations, particularly migrant children who are separated from their families. We thank those who contributed critical content to the report including non-governmental organizations serving migrant children, especially our colleagues at Kids in Need of Defense, First Focus on Children, and the National Immigrant Justice Center. 2 Table of Contents I. Introduction........................................................................................................................3 II. Legal Framework...............................................................................................................3 III. Human Rights Concerns Affecting Migrant Children Separated from their Families ……………………………………………………………………………………………..4 A. The USG Categorically Fails to Consider the Best Interests of Migrant Children......................4 B. The USG Actively Engages in Various Forms of Family Separation.........................................5 C. The USG Fails to Provide Due Process to Children Seeking Family Reunification...................7 IV. Strategic Priorities to Prevent Family Separation & Uphold the Rights of Separated or Unaccompanied Migrant Children.........................................................................................8 V. Conclusion..........................................................................................................................9 3 I. Introduction The United States is the only nation on earth that has failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)1: the instrument universally recognized as “establishing global standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children, without discrimination.” 2 With the availability of reservations in the ratification process, the failure to ratify the CRC cannot be justified as a matter of state sovereignty. Instead, this failure represents a feature of purported U.S. exceptionalism. As drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and coordinators of the UN Charter, the United States Government (USG) presumes that human rights accountability is an issue reserved for other nations. The United States’ human rights record, however, is far from exceptional. The USG has increasingly ignored or violated the rights of migrants and refugees—including children. Over the last several years, the USG has invoked increasingly racist rhetoric to support immigration policies that violate both international and U.S. laws and which place migrants directly in harms’ way. The USG has propelled deterrence and advanced anti-immigrant political agendas despite evidence that these policies lead to severe rights violations, including gross violations of the rights of migrant children. In light of the increasing frequency and severity of the human rights violations perpetuated by the USG against migrants and migrant children in particular, accountability has become critical. The Center for the Human Rights of Children and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, in collaboration with First Focus on Children, Kids in Need of Defense, and the National Immigrant Justice Center, submit this input in response to the call for submissions made by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report to the Human Rights Council on the rights of the child and family reunification. This input will focus specifically upon the USG’s failure to

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