2,000 children wait on Carolinas’ immigration court docket. They currently have no legal right to representation. Charlotte-area lawyers are stepping up to help them.
Op-Ed (North Carolina)
April 2, 2016
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Tags: Children & Juvenile, Immigration Process
Organizations mentioned/involved: Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (formerly Legal Services of Southern Piedmont) (North Carolina)
Weil’s statements, made in response to a case where advocates want the government to be required to provide legal representation for children who cannot afford it, are not only of national interest but also local concern. Charlotte houses the immigration court for North and South Carolina, and in 2014, thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children arrived in North Carolina. The flow of these children continues as resistance to violent gangs and a complex combination of other issues in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala drives children from their home countries. Often the children are targeted by gangs and live in poverty, and many face other issues, like abandonment and abuse.
There currently is no right to legal representation for children in immigration court, where proceedings will determine if they can remain in the U.S. These children are expected to appear in court where a process they do not understand in a language they do not speak is set in motion to return them to the country from which they have fled.