Ninth Circuit Rules Children Not Entitled to Court-Appointed Lawyers in Deportation Cases

Ninth Circuit Rules Children Not Entitled to Court-Appointed Lawyers in Deportation Cases

The U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that minor children are not entitled to court-appointed lawyers in deportation proceedings. The case stemmed from a teenage boy who came to the U.S. seeking asylum from gang threats in Honduras. An immigration judge rejected the boy’s asylum claim and he appealed his claim to the Ninth Circuit. The boy, known only as C.J., came with his mother to the U.S. in 2014, at the age of 13, after Honduran gang members repeatedly pressured the boy to join a gang and later threatened him by holding a gun to his head. Since the boy was not entitled to court-appointed counsel, his mother filled out his asylum application, which the immigration judge characterized as containing “threadbare” statements in support of the asylum claim, as well as “borderline inscrutable and non-responsive.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the immigration judge’s assessment of the boy’s asylum claim. The Court also ruled that there was no established law requiring counsel to be appointed for the boy to represent him in deportation proceedings, and that sufficient safeguards existed for children in this situation. The Court also found that requiring counsel to be appointed for immigrant children in deportations would be a financial burden for the U.S. government, costing as much as $276 million, as well as a further strain on an already over-burdened immigration court system. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) intends to seek a reversal of the Court’s decision. The recent Ninth Circuit decision has greatly eroded the rights of immigrant children in deportation proceedings, but with legal representation, these children still may be able to prevent deportation. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is an Oakland immigration law firm who has dedicated its practice to protecting the interests of immigrants who are facing deportation. Whether you are potentially deportable due to a visa overstay or a lack of valid immigration status, we can help. We are prepared to build the strongest case possible in order to defend you against deportation. Contact us today to set up your legal consultation and discover what assistance we can offer to you and your family.
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