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Child Migrant Advocates Call On New Administration To Act Quickly

A Washington D.C.-based nonprofit expects high numbers of children to keep traveling alone to the U.S. border, and it’s calling on the incoming Biden administration to balance receiving them legally with COVID-19 safety.

The legal and social services provider called Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, wants Biden to make Customs and Border Protection hire child protection workers. And Biden’s Office of Refugee Resettlement should make sure there’s enough room in shelters so kids don’t get stuck in border facilities, said KIND Policy and Advocacy Vice President Jennifer Podkul.

“ORR has developed COVID protocols to make sure both children and staff are safe. But they must continue to work on rapid family reunification outside of government custody," Podkul said. 

KIND wants every migrant child who comes to the U.S. alone to get a lawyer.

Podkul said she’s optimistic Biden can deliver these and other reforms in his first 100 days in office.           

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.