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Immigration Law

DOJ to Court Watchers: 'Move Along, Nothing to See Here'

"The Justice Department said Thursday that it will block video recordings of next month’s closing arguments in a Seattle court case that addresses the rights of child migrants to legal counsel in deportation proceedings.  A DOJ spokesperson said the prohibition is only intended to protect the privacy of the 11 minors who are the plaintiffs in the suit against Attorney General Eric Holder and other top administration officials.  But just last September, DOJ allowed the videotaping of oral arguments in the same case, and lawyers for the children have never raised such a privacy objection. ... In an emailed statement, Ahilan Arulanantham, a California-based American Civil Liberties Union attorney who has played a lead role in the Seattle case said: “The government’s assertion that it is acting in the privacy interests of the children it is trying to deport without representation is hard to take seriously.  The privacy of all of our clients is more than adequately protected by the procedures already put in place by the Plaintiffs themselves as well as the Court, including most obviously the fact that every child involved has been named only by his or her initials,” he said.  “The government’s real concern likely arises from the fact that a widely-disseminated video of the hearing will make it easier to hold Immigration Judges and prosecutors accountable for the statements the government makes on their behalf.” " - David Rogers, Politico, Feb. 19, 2015.