A new online curriculum has been developed to help state courts understand how to process the increasing numbers of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) coming into the United States.
Over the last several years, the number of UACs from Central America has been steadily rising, and this trend is anticipated to lead to an increase in filings in state juvenile courts on behalf of UACs seeking court findings to support applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. With SJI support, the Center for Public Policy Studies and the National Center for State Courts developed the Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the State Courts online curriculum.
The online curriculum will increase understanding among state court judges, court administrators, and court stakeholders about: 1) federal immigration law, policy, and practice, and the impact on state courts of cases involving UACs; 2) how the work of the state courts in cases involving UACs intersects with the needs of the federal immigration system; 3) the different types of cases and matters where UACs might appear in state courts; and 4) the potential role of the state courts in providing factual findings in cases involving UACs. The contents of the curriculum include an inventory of core elements that should be included in educational programs for state court practitioners when working with UACs, along with variations in the core elements that target the needs of state-court-level trial-court-level, and juvenile- and dependency-court-focused programs. Also available on the site are downloadable PDFs of the Guide for State Courts in Cases Involving Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, and the Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and the State Courts quick reference information card.