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Statements and Releases



Newsroom | Statements and Releases

LSSNCA Support for the Newly Introduced Protecting Unaccompanied Children Act

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) strongly supports the Protecting Unaccompanied Children Act introduced by Senator Durbin yesterday, and also applauds the complementary letter released October 23, by Sen. Durbin and other concerned senators to the Department of Labor echoing our calls to hold companies accountable to follow existing child labor laws and regulations.   

“The proposed legislation recognizes the unique vulnerabilities children fleeing violence and persecution who arrive in the United States alone face,” said Kristyn Peck, LSSNCA CEO. “It provides much-needed safeguards and protection by filling in critical gaps for unaccompanied children in the U.S.,” she continued.  

Having served unaccompanied children since 1974, LSSNCA was invited to submit testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “Ensuring the Safety and Well-Being of Unaccompanied Children,” on June 14, 2023, in response to The New York Times’ February 2023 article that found unaccompanied children were released from U.S. government custody into conditions of exploitation and human trafficking. This legislation includes many of the recommendations LSSNCA provided in its testimony.  

The bill improves vetting of sponsors, increases services once children are released from federal custody, ensures legal representation while children are navigating the complex immigration system, expands protections for children who have been exploited, and establishes an office of an ombudsperson to serve as an impartial oversight body.   

“This should be a nonpartisan issue, and LSSNCA stands ready, alongside other advocates, to work with the Administration on implementing expanded protections, including through the proposed interagency working group,” said Peck. “This legislation sends a strong message on how the United States cares for the most vulnerable victims of conflict – children.”