Children are becoming an increasingly large percentage of the cases seen in immigration courts, and most do not have a lawyer to represent them. Right now, juvenile cases take up about 12% of the New York Immigration Court’s docket, and most all do not have a court appointed attorney. This means they rely on their relatives, also usually immigrants, or themselves, if teens, to appear before the court. Many of these juveniles come across the border by themselves, escaping violence and poverty in their Central American countries. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predict about 60,000 children to emigrate into the U.S. this year, an 800% increase since 2011.
Thankfully, some immigration courts have tried to connect with pro bono and law school programs to provide representation for these children, so they do not have to appear before the judge alone. Hopefully, more programs and representation will increase in the future with the amount of juvenile cases.
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