Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
Washington Office on Latin America
February 2015

On the Front Lines Border Security, Migration, and Humanitarian Concerns in South Texas
By Adam Isacson, Senior Associate for Regional Security and Maureen Meyer, Senior Associate for Mexico and Migrant Rights

The majority of migrants never have access to a lawyer to assist them as they petition for asylum or another form of protection. Several studies point to having a lawyer as the most determining factor in whether or not a migrant is granted some form of immigration relief. Unaccompanied migrant children fare slightly better than adults, as there are more funds available to provide legal screening and “Know Your Rights” presentations to children. However, many children also face immigration proceedings without legal representation. An analysis of immigration court records for FY 2012 to FY 2014 by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)at Syracuse University found that, in cases of unaccompanied migrant children, almost three-fourths of those who had a lawyer were granted some form of relief, while only 15 percent of the children who did not have a lawyer were allowed to stay in the United States. The analysis found that approximately 32 percent of all children in immigration proceedings had lawyers, with the percentage decreasing during the months of the “surge” in 2014.........[Citing TRAC research].

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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