AILA Law Journal author Sarah Diaz recently answered questions posed by AILA Editorial Director Danielle Polen in a short video in which she talks a bit about the process of writing for the Law Journal, the topic she chose, and how AILA members and others can use the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction to help children separated from their parents. Watch the video below or read the transcript directly under the video, and check out her article in the journal!

Hi, all, my name is Sarah Diaz and I’m the associate director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago, School of Law.

For the last several years, I’ve served children separated from their parents at the U.S. border in a variety of different capacities. I’ve been their child advocate, I’ve been a human rights lawyer, and a consultant to policy groups like the American Immigration Council. In my work with these kids, it’s become painfully clear that separated children face protracted–unnecessarily protracted–stays in government custody during what’s often their most critical periods of child development. Infants, toddlers, children in early childhood are all at the mercy of the Department of Homeland Security, waiting sometimes for months on end to return them to family in home country and this is true even in cases where the lawyers and the child advocates and the Office of Refugee Resettlement all agree that it’s in the best interest of the child–indeed the child’s legal interest–to be repatriated to family.

So I started thinking creatively about the purpose of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction and, namely, I wanted to think about whether the Hague could be used to compel the government to promptly repatriate a child rather than allowing them to languish in government custody due to bureaucratic backlogs. And as it turns out, we can weaponize the Hague to accomplish family reunification in appropriate circumstances.

The article, “Hague Abduction Law for the Contemporary Immigrant Parent and Child,” sets out to explain the Hague in more accessible terms to immigration practitioners and it does so by starting out with the basics of the Hague, how it looks, how it works, both in theory and in practice. The article goes on to observe tensions between the Hague Convention and the asylum statute, as well as the Hague Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But the reader should bear in mind ultimately that the goal of this piece is to start thinking creatively about using the Hague Convention to mitigate or curb the unnecessary, unlawful, and harmful practice of family separation.

Thank you.


AILA members – the full law journal is available to you free for download.

A report out from the symposium AILA cohosted last year may also be of interest: In Children’s Best Interests: Charting A Child-Sensitive Approach to U.S. Immigration Policy