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Jesuit Refugee Service
September 25, 2015

USA: solutions for legal challenges facing asylum seekers

During the July forum, Legislative Associate at the American Immigration Lawyers Association Alyson Sincavage reflected the mindset of asylum seekers when she noted, "How can you feel safe when you have to explain to someone youíve never met, with a uniform and a weapon, in a cold room with people buzzing in and out; how can you feel safe when you have to divulge to them secrets you may be ashamed of? Itís a very hostile, scary environment when arriving in this country." The asylum seekers also find themselves in a bewildering process of navigating the legal system. Finding legal representation is a critical need. "Without financial resources, English language skills, or much knowledge of the American justice system, these individuals have great difficulty finding representation," noted Seattle University School of Law in the survey. According to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, only 46 percent of the unaccompanied children going before Immigration Court are currently represented by an attorney and more than 81,000 juveniles are still without legal representation.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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