AILA Doc. No. 16031000 | Dated September 30, 2016
Our country's immigration laws are among the most complicated in the world, yet the government still does not guarantee legal counsel to asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations facing deportation. In the past two years, more than 112,000 families and unaccompanied children appeared without lawyers in their deportation proceedings. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for non-English speaking asylum seekers, especially children, to navigate our complex system and comprehend terms like 'persecution' or 'particular social group.' Asylum seekers represented by counsel in expedited removal proceedings are 12 times more likely to be granted asylum. A lawyer is essential to help a child tell his or her story and to make our system fair. Children with attorneys are five times more likely to be granted protection. With no government system to provide lawyers, AILA attorneys have volunteered to represent hundreds of Central American families seeking asylum who are detained in facilities in Texas and Pennsylvania.
Among other things, the Refugee Protection Act would:
On June 28, 2016, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced S. 3106: Secure the Northern Triangle Act, a bill designed to provide a plan to manage the humanitarian crisis in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and to improve access to asylum and other protections for those fleeing violence in the region. The House companion bill was introduced by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) on July 14, 2016.
On February 11, 2016, Senator Minority Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced S. 2540: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016, which mandates that unaccompanied children and vulnerable immigrants receive legal representation. Two weeks later, on February 26, 2016, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced the House companion bill: H.R. 4646: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 16031000.
Learn how our government’s current response undermines due process for asylum seekers.Read Report Today