No matter how sensitive to a child’s needs an immigration judge may be, unrepresented children don’t stand much of a chance.
Op-Ed (California, Georgia, INTERNATIONAL, New York)
October 26, 2014
Link to story
Tags: Children & Juvenile, Funding: Federal, Immigration Process, Language Access
As the surge of unaccompanied minors fleeing Central America has receded from headlines, their cases have flooded the courts. A child, no matter how young, has no right to an appointed attorney in immigration court, and most youth must represent themselves.
According to reports, about 40 to 60 percent of these children could qualify for protection from deportation under American law. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for instance, conducted a statistically significant study of recently arrived children and found that 60 percent were forcibly displaced from their home countries due to violence that could implicate the need for international protection. Yet, without a lawyer, the odds of winning are low. A second recent report found that nine of 10 unrepresented children are deported, while almost half of represented children are allowed to stay in the United States.