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October 15, 2014

Without lawyers, 90% of children crossing into the US alone seeking safety could be sent back
By Angilee Shah

While unaccompanied children have a right to legal counsel, they are not appointed an attorney and must find one on their own or with the help of their families and friends. The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) recommends appointed counsel for children in immigration proceedings to ensure due process protections. Until this is a reality, the NIJC and other legal service providers throughout the country are working to ensure that unaccompanied children understand the importance of finding an attorney. According to data gathered by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, about 50 percent of children attend court unrepresented, and 90 percent of the children that appear in court without representation are ordered deported or granted voluntary departure. However, when they appear with an attorney, about half are granted status allowing them to remain in the U.S.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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