‘Children As Young As 5’ Could Face Immigration Court Alone, Experts Say

Kids who aren’t even old enough to know the name of their home country may be forced to navigate a complex legal system by themselves.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Angelina Chapin
Huffington Post
June 25, 2018

Tags: Asylum, Courts, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)


Last year, only 33 percent of unaccompanied minor children ― the category that these separated kids fall under ― had lawyers to help them through the process, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. Since migrants are not entitled to public defenders at their hearings, they rely on limited pro bono legal services.

There’s no minimum age for appearing in immigration court.

“Babies are subject to deportation,” said Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, an organization that pairs unaccompanied minors with lawyers. “The norm is that babies are supposed to be with their parent and the parent would speak for the baby [in court]. But, in these cases, we’re seeing them separated.”