Putting TRAC to Work
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March 24, 2015

In New York, volunteer attorneys lend help to border kids
By Raul A. Reyes

Wendy Young, president of Kids In Need Of Defense says that many children face a daunting task, navigating the immigration court system on their own. “Most of these kids are absolutely not getting the legal representation that they need,” she notes. “The sheer numbers is putting pressure on the system, and the fact that cases are moving rapidly makes it harder for young people to find an attorney.” Young stated that unless the U.S. immigration system can ensure just outcomes for unaccompanied children, “we run the risk of returning them back to the same dangers that they fled.” Nationally, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, 32% of unaccompanied immigrant children were represented by counsel. In New York, the figure is higher, with 43% of unaccompanied children accessing legal representation. Having legal representation makes a difference in whether a child is allowed to remain in the U.S. Syracuse University found that almost three-quarters of represented children were allowed by the court to remain in the U.S., whereas only 15% of unrepresented children had a similar outcome. Cases in the priority docket are heard separately from other immigration cases, and the children range from infants up to age 18. As an alternative to removal, the types of relief that unaccompanied children may be eligible for include asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and visas for victims of trafficking and crime.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2015
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