Protecting Alien Minors: Who Is Responsible?

The Virginia Court of Appeals is currently being asked to decide whether county civil court judges should have to rule on whether illegal alien minors should be protected against deportation when it is alleged they will be abused if they are sent home. The Washington Post reports that many local judges are balking at making a ruling on these cases because immigration is a federal issue and they feel they lack competence to rule on an immigration matter.

The arguments about this issue ignore the point that the institutions that provide protection for abused minors in the home country are the logical bodies to determine whether and when and what type of protection may be needed.

The defenders of the illegal alien youth – who may be as old as 21 – argue that the issue is not about immigration status, because a determination that an illegal alien youth needs protection is only a preliminary step in facilitating the individual’s application for a visa that confers legal permanent residence. According to the Post article, the number of these special visas has soared from 1,600 in 2010 to 15,100 in 2016 as the wave of minors from Central America has surged.

The argument by the judges who object to being asked to rule on these cases is that they have no way of verifying the veracity of the claims of the advocates that the illegal alien minor would be subjected to abuse if returned home. Moreover, U.S. courts have no way of establishing whether the parent or other responsible adult in the home country is aware of the court proceeding in the United States and would contest the testimony in the court.

The issue before the Virginia Court of Appeals is unnecessarily convoluted because of the law that allows the issuance of these special immigrant visas to illegal alien minors. Elimination of the confusion requires federal legislation to abolish this visa provision. If the illegal alien minors do not qualify for the traditional protection of the asylum process, they should be returned to the home country with a request to the home country to determine whether the youth needs protection from abuse by the caregiver.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar
    Harlan Racine on

    Who is responsible you ask, Their parents who dumped them and got rid of them and their country of origin, I feel for the kids but they belong with their parents in their own country, Not here being ware housed on our dollar.

    • avatar

      Harlan …. this is peanuts compared to the real injustice happening nowadays…….yo do not feel anything…you care about the money more…

  2. avatar
    Joel Wischkaemper on

    It is not a tough call. Clinton, Bush and Obama planned to bring these people into our system and have the American People pay for them. We pay billions if not trillions in taxes with everything we buy. The Administration makes a big deal out of the idea that only the wealthiest pay income taxes, but they don’t point out that the vast majority of the money to run this country comes the the far less than wealthy lower middle class.
    But no matter.. none of them made an effort to correct the tax structure. They did burden us all with the support of those children while we have an economy that is shrinking and a lot of unemployed.
    If we send those folks back home, and our foolish Presidents actively made an effort to see that they were treated well in their own country, I think they wouldn’t come. Mr. Trump’s policies have improved our circumstances, but we still want that wall, and we need Presidents that keep that in mind: those people should be returned and their safety and well being should be openly discussed.

    • avatar

      Perhaps you should be cursed to comeback next lifetime as the little girl…..let me know if you change your mind then once you are back…..

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        Peter from China, we American citizens don’t believe in reincarnation. Keep your cultural beliefs to yourself.

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          Fed up, you are in my land…you are probably an illegal from Honduras……that little girl looks like you… should be ashamed after you take Welfare and advantage of our land…

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      JW of course it is not if you have no heart n soul which obviously you don’t then it is easy for you. If your our karma hunts you for who you are……n you are in despair in your life, please remember this little girls misfortune……I feel for your wife…..

    • avatar

      Harlan really….you saw her parents let her go…..maybe your parents did that to you…the kind if man you are. What about she was robbed n abused n ended up there. . Get a life….