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Juvenile Justice Information Exchange
July 23, 2014

Trains, Amputations and the Roots of Why Kids Are On the Run
By Susan Ferriss

A Syracuse University project known as TRAC released a report this week analyzing more than 100,000 juvenile cases filed in the nation’s immigration courts over the last 10 years. Only 43 percent of kids in these cases were or are currently represented by lawyers who help plead for asylum or another form of legal status, according to TRAC, the acronym for the university’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Immigration courts are clogged with backlogs, but juvenile cases only represent about 11 percent of all cases currently pending. Kids, like adults, do not have the right to the appointment of attorney in immigration proceedings. But TRAC found that having a lawyer increased the odds that kids would win their claims against deportation: In cases that have been resolved, nearly half the children who had attorneys — 47 percent — were allowed to remain in the United States. When children did not have legal representation, courts allowed only one in 10 to remain here. A group of civil rights advocates filed suit this month arguing that it is an unconstitutional violation of due process not to provide minors with legal representation in immigration hearings, as the Center for Public Integrity reported.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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