Friday, June 6, 2014
From the NY Times:
The Obama administration said on Friday that it was launching a program to help recruit lawyers for children facing deportation as it scrambles to deal with the soaring number of unaccompanied Central American minors illegally crossing the border from Mexico.
Under the plan, the federal government will issue $2 million in grants to enroll about 100 lawyers and paralegals to represent children making their way through the immigration court system.
“We’re taking a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “How we treat those in need, particularly young people who must appear in immigration proceedings — many of whom are fleeing violence, persecution, abuse, or trafficking — goes to the core of who we are as a nation.”
Administration officials have been trying to cope with a surge of unaccompanied children, mainly from Central America, that has overwhelmed border officials as well as the nation’s family and immigration court systems.
On Monday, the administration ordered federal emergency authorities to coordinate a multiagency response to the relief effort. Two emergency shelters have been opened on military bases — one at Naval Base Ventura County in Oxnard, Calif., and the other at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio — to house as many as 1,800 youths.
Since October, more than 47,000 children traveling without parents have been caught trying to cross the Southwest border, a 92 percent increase over the same period last year. Most are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, officials said. Read more....