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Immigration Law

Ninth Circuit Panel Urges Feds to Work with Lawyers for Refugee Kids

David Rogers, Politico, July 7, 2016 - "Unhappy with the choices before them, a three-judge federal appeals court panel urged the Justice Department and migrant-rights lawyers to work together more to try to reach some resolution on the question of legal counsel for children before the immigration courts.  "We’re not a policy body but nothing precludes the parties from talking about solutions while the court considers its decision,” said Judge Margaret McKeown on Thursday, as she closed the nearly hour-long proceeding before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle.  By her side, Judge Milan Smith echoed this view, all but pleading with both sides to establish an agreed-upon test case that will get around any jurisdictional issues that have so stymied any clear court resolution of the children’s rights.  “I’ve been on this court 10 years and I must confess that among the most complicated of all the laws I deal with is the immigration statute,” Smith said. “It is an absolute hodgepodge…I just don’t see how realistically anybody can say that a child …can possibly defend themselves under this.”  [Link to video of oral argument here.]