The increasing number of unaccompanied immigrant children arriving at the southern U.S. border after fleeing violence in their home countries has been called a humanitarian crisis (“Lawmakers: Fix immigration now,” July 14).
President Obama requested funds from Congress to be distributed to federal agencies to address the issue. However, the President’s request fails to address a fundamental piece of the puzzle: much-needed legal assistance for immigrant children in deportation hearings.
Unlike U.S. citizens, who have a right to counsel in certain cases, foreign nationals are not guaranteed access to legal services. Most immigrant children are unable to pay for an attorney, and pro bono groups are unable to help most of these minors.
I am an attorney with experience in immigration law, and I have worked with immigrants’ rights groups. Immigrant children face insurmountable barriers in representing themselves in immigration court.
U.S. immigration law is complex. Immigrant children are unlikely to be able to present an adequate defense against experienced prosecutors.
Most of the evidence that they would need is likely in their home countries. And they may have difficulty expressing themselves in plain English, much less in the legal standards used by prosecutors and judges.
In other adversarial proceedings, children have a right to legal representation. Failure to extend this right to immigrant children who are extremely vulnerable and face impossible odds detracts from any effort by the federal government to address the crisis in a humane manner.
Sealing border safeguards U.S.
President Obama and other open-border politicians say they cannot get a bill passed that would help with illegal border crossings because of Republican resistance.
House Republicans offer help, but they want the border sealed before amnesty is put forth. The GOP suggests putting our National Guard at the border to help seal it.
The border must be closed and our laws governing legal entry into this country must be enforced. It is only a matter of time before one of our enemies crosses the border with a destructive device and kills a bunch of Americans.
Some of these people may bring diseases here, and we wouldn’t know it because they have no medical history with them. President Obama needs to do his job and close the border now.
Immigrant youths treatment special
If you or I were to take an unaccompanied child of a stranger across state lines, we would be breaking federal law and could go to jail for kidnapping.
But when President Obama, with the prodding of his Democratic base, loads thousands of children who are here illegally from another country onto buses and airplanes and has them transported from Texas to California, it is called compassion and humanitarian protection.