The Young Center was invited to participate in a civil society consultation with the U.S. government on the issue of “Access to Justice.” The consultation took place in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the Universal Period Review (UPR) and the Convention to End Racial Discrimination (CERD) review of the United States government. This was an unprecedented opportunity to raise the Young Center’s important agenda—in particular, incorporation of a best interests standard into the Immigration & Nationality Act and expansion of the Child Advocate program—before a panel of government officials and activists in the area of human rights. Jennifer Nagda, Policy Director, testified on behalf of the Young Center.
After the meeting, we prepared a detailed, written statement demonstrating why our requests for a best interests standard and for Child Advocates are required by international human rights law. That statement was submitted to government officials and to the UN committee reviewing US compliance. The government was well-represented at the panel, with high-level officials from DOJ, DHS, HHS, State, HUD, and other agencies present. Jennifer was one of three panelists (along with the ACLU and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid) invited to discuss access to justice for immigrants.
The consultation was webcast live and a recording is available at http://media.wcl.american.edu/