Children Deported without Representation

The failure of the United States government to appoint lawyers to represent migrant children facing deportation violates their basic rights under international law. There is now what is called an Amicus Brief in the Federal Appeals court on this issue. An amicus brief is a “friend-of-the-court” brief that lets people put their opinions on a certain issue upon the court. In immigration proceedings, unlike criminal cases, there is no guaranteed right to a lawyer paid for by the government for those who cannot afford one. Thousands of children in deportation hearings in the US must stand alone before government lawyers and judges, and try to make their case without a lawyer. These hearings are incredibly complex and the consequence of losing is the potentially deadly threat of deportation. The US Department of Justice began “fast-tracking” children’s deportation cases in immigration courts in 2014. Since then, the courts have ordered deportation for thousands of children who were not represented by a lawyer, often after only one hearing. The US Congress should pass a bill pending in the Senate that would require the government to appoint lawyers for unaccompanied children and for victims of abuse, torture, or other violence. They need to be properly represented! What would you feel in their situations? I think that they need to be protected whether or not they are legally in this country. They need to be represented properly.

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