Miriam Abaya Vice President, Immigration and Children’s Rights

Miriam is the Vice President for Immigration and Children’s Rights at First Focus. Before joining First Focus, Miriam was a Policy Analyst at the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, where she advocated for immigration policies that would protect the best interests and rights of unaccompanied children in government custody. While at the Young Center, Miriam focused on access to the asylum, border policies, and due process for immigrant children. Miriam also advocated before international bodies, regarding U.S. immigration policy, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Miriam graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2017. During law school, Miriam was a 2015 Law & Public Policy Scholar and interned with the DOJ Office of Immigration Litigation, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy. After law school, Miriam was a Law & Public Policy Fellow for the Law & Public Policy Program, where she conducted research on international justice outreach on the African continent. That research was later published in the UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs. She also worked part-time for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, where she supported a project on victim participation in the Central African Republic's Special Criminal Court.

Miriam is Nigerian American and grew up in Jos, Nigeria.

Resources by Miriam Abaya


Policy Brief: The Biden Administration Public Charge Regulation —What does it mean for children in immigrant families?

| October 26, 2022 |

Approximately 1-in-4 children in the United States has an immigrant parent, and children of immigrants are the fastest-growing group of children in the United


Fact Sheet: The “Best Interests of the Child” Standard

| August 2, 2022 |

What is the “Best Interests of the Child” standard?  The “best interests of the child” is a principle to ensure government policies safeguard the


Issue Brief: The Case for a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) on Child Well-being

| August 2, 2022 |

THE CHALLENGE  The American people expect government policy to advance the best interests of children. Yet, the data shows that U.S. policy lacks the


There Must be an “After Title 42” for Border Policy

| May 17, 2022 |

From the beginning, First Focus on Children has decried the cruelty of the Title 42 policy, a Trump Administration policy that misused a public


What’s at stake for kids if Congress doesn’t pass Build Back Better

| December 22, 2021 |

As negotiations have stalled and the fate of the Build Back Better Act hangs in the balance, children stand to lose access to monthly


On World Children’s Day, Has the US Made Progress on Children’s Rights?

| November 20, 2021 |

Today is World Children’s Day, first established by the United Nations in 1954 to celebrate children and commit to improving their well-being.   World Children’s Day is


Agencies must strengthen standards and safeguards that protect unaccompanied children in government care

| October 26, 2021 |

Attacks on migrant children in the United States continue to threaten the well-being of children seeking refuge. In a May disaster declaration, Texas Governor


Ending “Remain in Mexico” Policy is the minimum: We must implement child-centered border policies.

| October 25, 2021 |

President Biden came into office promising a “fair, orderly, and humane immigration system.” While his Administration has taken important steps toward that goal —


Climate Displacement is a Kids Issue

| October 13, 2021 |

In recent years, natural disasters and extreme weather events have been occurring at alarming rates. This past summer was particularly worrisome in the U.S.


Letter: Inform states of the vacatur of the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule

| September 30, 2021 |

On September 30th, First Focus on Children sent a letter to Secretary Fudge asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to