Too Many Child Immigrants, Not Enough Volunteer Attorneys

June 10, 2014

According the United Nations the majority of children coming into the United States alone are fleeing dangerous conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The minors who leave these Central American countries are left to navigate the court proceedings by themselves.

Wendy Young is with Kids in Need of Defense, an organization that provides pro bono representation for unaccompanied children immigrants. She said U.S. immigration law doesn’t require the appointment of a lawyer to kids in deportation proceedings.

“Imagine seeing a 5 year old standing before a robed judge with a trained immigration lawyer arguing for their removal and there is the child expected to present her own defense against deportation. The cards are stacked against these kids in the courtroom,” said Young.

Young says these children are reliant on the services of volunteer lawyers to have a chance of being granted asylum or staying in the country. These attorneys are having trouble keeping up with the nearly 50,000 kids who have been pouring into the U.S. since October.