Katie Chatterton in the Wall Street Journal: Immigrant Children Face a Long Journey Upon Arrival


Jordi Castanon illegally crossed into the U.S. at the age of 15 in 2009, seeking to run away from his abusive father in Guatemala. Mr. Castanon, now 20, is still waiting for his immigration case to be completed.

His experience shows the many twists and turns in an immigration system that can stretch the adjudication process for immigrant children out for years. It also raises questions as to how long it will take immigration courts and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to handle the surging number of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. illegally...

"It's a nightmare right now," said Katie Chatterton, Mr. Castanon's lawyer, of the immigration system's backlogs. "I can't even imagine how it's going to be when all these kids get through."

Mr. Castanon has been approved for two avenues to remain legally in the U.S.—special immigrant juvenile status, and asylum—but he remains in legal limbo as he awaits a final interview with immigration authorities to obtain permanent residency, said Ms. Chatterton, a lawyer with Haynes and Boone, LLP in Houston who took his case pro bono.

Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2014. To view full article, click here.

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