Unescorted Immigrant Children May Still Face Deportation
Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 22, 2014 – More than 68,000 children have arrived in the U.S. without their parents since October 2013. The rush to deport some of them has begun.
Many U.S. border states face overloaded federal court dockets dealing with the issue of deporting children who have illegally crossed the border to find safety, their families or both. The federal government is asking to have the children and teenagers deported because they are in the country without documentation. The process is happening so quickly that child advocates and attorneys are calling the hearings the “rocket” or “surge” docket.
According to the Obama administration, children without legitimate claims would be sent home quickly through expedited hearings. The process between the child’s arrival and the determination of deportation has been telescoped to weeks, though it typically takes months. Many attorneys are asking if this severely shortened period to hearing is an infringement on the children’s human rights. In New York, a mere 11 days after expedited hearings began, five teens were deported.
These immigrant children are not entitled to attorneys under current immigration laws, and thousands of them may go to court unrepresented. Many are likely to be deported, some despite solid cases for asylum due to gang-related violence at home.
The increase in children arriving from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador has pointed out a glaring loophole in existing immigration legislation. Central American children and Mexican children are not treated the same way as others from around the globe. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 states that unaccompanied children who are not from Canada or Mexico cannot be sent back “home.” Instead, they are to be placed with a suitable family member in the U.S. or in an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program.
“Understandably, parents have been using that loophole, knowing their children are likely to remain in the United States” said Larry Rifkin, a Miami immigration attorney. President Obama wants to change this legislation to treat all children the same way, a move that would allow speedier processing and deportation.