The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Unaccompanied minors arrive at the United States border every day. Many brought by the hope of finding a life lived without fear, a luxury many United States citizens take for granted. Their truths become the barriers and shackles which keep them in detention centers and unaccompanied minor facilities throughout the United States; children find their very words wielded as weapons against them in immigration court. Words often spoken to therapists in perceived confidence, during counseling sessions. This practice is a systemic failure to protect unaccompanied minors arriving at our borders who are seeking protection and help. The United States was once the protector of the innocent; now more than ever, it is time to shield these children from the evil they have fled and to offer them safety, comfort, and hope.

The Flores Act requires counseling services for children, to help deal with the trauma they have faced prior to arriving in the United States. These services are received while in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and counseling notes from these sessions have been shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often reappearing during court proceedings. This comment reviews the implications of these actions, along with the dire consequences that sharing these notes has brought on unaccompanied minors. Now more than ever, it is not only possible, but necessary to reform this broken system through legislative action. This comment reviews possible paths forward to begin the necessary reforms and resolutions that would allow for the protection of the most vulnerable populations arriving at our borders.

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The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Lydia Harris