Immigration Law

As Child Immigrants Await Fate, a Race for Counsel

"Inside a courthouse in downtown Manhattan, an immigration court crisis plays out in vivid scenes.  Dozens of attorneys race between windowless courtrooms.  Families listen as immigration law is explained to them in a foreign language through an interpreter.  And the children at the center of it all fill the dimly lit hallways, waiting for their turn before a judge.  The youths are among the more than 66,000 from Central America who have entered the U.S. unaccompanied since October, fleeing what they describe as an explosion of gang violence.  Nearly 6,000 are in the New York City area, where they are staying with relatives and seeking safe haven and legal status.  Just under half of the children appearing before the New York City Immigration Court have no attorney, according to The Legal Aid Society.  The children are far more likely to be deported without an attorney, and advocates say the situation is desperate.  "We are working around the clock, but we can't meet the need," said Kathleen Maloney, an attorney with the Immigration Law Unit at the Legal Aid Society, one of the groups leading the effort to represent the children, and sometimes their mothers, in New York." - Mara Gay, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 1, 2014.