This report—the seventh in a series focused on juvenile detention reform—boldly goes where few reports have gone before: straight to the intersection of immigration and the American juvenile justice system. Readers will learn how to help ensure the safe and fair treatment of noncitizen youth in detention by adopting policies and procedures that are consistent with the goals of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI).
Launched in 1992, Annie E. Casey Foundation’s JDAI is a multi-year, multi-site effort to reduce reliance on secure detention while creating a more efficient and equitable juvenile justice system.
What’s the juvenile justice field’s consensus on handling noncitizen youth? There is none
Findings & Stats
Readers will learn clear practice recommendations that aim to promote the fair treatment of noncitizen youth as they navigate the juvenile justice system. One tip? Detention and intake personnel should not try to document—or even determine—a youth’s immigration status during the charging, booking or detention process.
This report debunks five commonly held myths about immigration enforcement. Tops on this list? Federal law requires juvenile justice personnel to report undocumented youth to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In reality, federal law does not require these employees—or any local or state law enforcement official—to identify noncitizens and report them to federal immigration authorities.
A Shock to the System
Juvenile justice systems are not equipped to address the unique and complex needs of noncitizen youth, who often arrive in America with backstories darkened by violence, persecution, extreme poverty, severe abuse or homelessness.
Statements & Quotations
Although most undocumented youth are not responsible for their presence in this country, they live with the burdensome threat of deportation that drives them and their families into the shadows, marginalized by the need to remain invisible.
Due to a lack of information and professional consensus, jurisdictions and individual employees are left to navigate these complex issues with little or no guidance.
The politically charged nature of immigration creates a climate in which the relevant legal and policy questions are not openly discussed.