Advocates urge more mental health services for unaccompanied immigrant children

Unaccompanied minors face temporary displacement, language barriers and other challenges that can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious mental health problems, according to research. Advocates say more services, such as talk therapy and support groups, are needed to help them deal with the stress and trauma they have experienced.

How President Obama’s immigration policy could affect Illinois

Critics said President Obama overstepped his power when he used his executive authority Thursday to provide deportation relief and temporary permission to work to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. Others said the reforms did not go far enough. The Migration Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C., estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. could benefit from the executive actions. Nationwide up to 3.8 million undocumented immigrants will be newly eligible for deportation relief, according to the Pew Research Center. How will Obama’s executive order affect Illinois?

Chicago groups take child refugee issue to inter-American human rights commission

Two Chicago-based organizations are asking an international human rights commission to examine the U.S. government’s treatment of thousands of unaccompanied minors who’ve entered this country from Mexico and Central America.Last week, a petition was filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the National Immigrant Justice Center and the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities. The commission is under the auspices of the Organization of American States, a regional group of which the U.S. and all the countries in the Americas are members. The Chicago groups are asking the commission to urge the U.S. to take precautions in how it treats the children and their families in this country. They also request that the commission order the U.S. to stop deporting the children and their families without due consideration of their rights to protection and asylum, said Susan Gzesh, the executive director of the Pozen Family Center of Human Rights at the University of Chicago and one of the lawyers who helped write the petition. Since October 2013, close to 60,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico have been apprehended by U.S. authorities at or near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Pew Research Center.The children are fleeing kidnapping, mutilation, rape and murder in their countries.