Immigration Law

Judge Keeps Alive Battle Over Counsel For Refugee Kids

"A Washington federal judge on Monday kept alive a class action seeking lawyers for immigrant children facing removal proceedings, but trimmed the suit of three of nine named plaintiffs and a count of violating the Immigration and Nationality Act.  In his decision, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly dismissed two of the children because they might never undergo removal proceedings while another he dismissed because she received an order of removal in absentia, which can only be rescinded upon an immigration judge’s grant of a motion, according to the order.  The judge also struck classwide injunctive relief in the form of delayed continuances of deportation proceedings, but allowed the individual children involved to seek an injunction.  “The INA makes clear that the court lacks jurisdiction to grant classwide injunctive relief,” he said.  And although he tossed the plaintiffs’ claim that the government violates the INA by not allowing children to be represented by attorneys during removal proceedings, he found that their related due-process claims under the Constitution survive.  Ahilan Arulanantham, an ACLU attorney representing the plaintiffs, told Law360 in a Monday statement that the plaintiffs are pleased the judge allowed the case to continue and put an end to the government’s attempts to further delay resolution." - Law360, Apr. 13, 2015.