As Child Immigrants Await Fate, a Race for Counsel

How the court system is influenced by the influx of unaccompanied children and how legal aid is responding to the crisis in the face of a lawyer shortage.

News Story (NATIONAL, New York)

Mara Gay
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
October 1, 2014
Link to story

Tags: Children & Juvenile, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society (New York City)


Legal Aid and other groups have embedded attorneys and volunteers in an unused room in the courthouse and connected the children and their families with social services from mental health counselors to homeless shelters. Advocates said the caseloads are overwhelming, sometimes exceeding 60 children per attorney.

Maureen Schad, an attorney with Chadbourne & Parke LLP, one of the firms working on the cases pro bono, said the situation was “contrary to everything that we stand for in terms of our democracy.”

A central problem for the children and the families is that they have no right to an attorney at the government’s expense under U.S. law, said Joseph Landau, an associate professor of law at Fordham University who specializes in immigration cases.