Lawyers Stepping Up to Volunteer Time For Border Kids: “They Have a Right to Due Process”
It turns out that American’s lawyers are stepping up for those Border Kids who are not guaranteed representation at immigration court. The Wall Street Journal reports that across the country hundreds of lawyers who are experts in other fields are taking crash courses in immigration and representing the children, who are mostly unaccompanied minors from Central America.
The WSJ reports that “… since late July, when a wave of Central American minors surged at the border, lawyers who regularly bill hundreds of dollars an hour have been packing training sessions to learn immigration law and take on the children’s cases. Legal-aid organizations call it an unprecedented response by this group of attorneys… the effort leaves the firms open to criticism from conservative activists who say the minors should be returned to their home countries. But the attorneys say the children, who aren’t entitled to a public defender, have a right to due process.”
The story quotes Simona Agnolucci, a San Francisco lawyer specializing in complex litigation who is representing tech giant Google Inc. in several cases, who also volunteers at an immigration court each Thursday. She screens immigrants without legal representation to assess whether they have a viable asylum claim for a pro bono attorney to take. “I am fortunate to have clients in favor of this work,” said the Keker & Van Nest lawyer. Google said it had nothing to add to her comments.
The story also notes that more than half the children with lawyers stay in the U.S. and nine of ten without a lawyer are deported. Read the report and details about federal and state moves here: New Mission for Lawyers: Free Aid to Young Immigrants