Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Today, the American Immigration Council releases the fact sheet Children in Immigration Court: Over 95 Percent Represented by an Attorney Appear in Court. The data provided was obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse and is from the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review covering the period of fiscal year 2005 through March 2016. Over the past few years, thousands of children, many fleeing horrific levels of violence in Central America, have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most children are placed in deportation proceedings before an immigration judge, where they will carry the legal burden of proving that they should be allowed to remain in the United States. The government does not guarantee them the right to a lawyer, even if they are alone (i.e., without a parent) and/or unable to hire one. As a result, many children must navigate the complicated immigration system without legal representation. Yet, despite these obstacles, a majority of children do attend their immigration proceedings and the attendance rate is especially high (95 percent) for those who are represented by lawyers. The data also suggests that children who do fail to appear are victims of the system’s deficits.