As an influx of immigrant children continue to enter states all across the country, including California, government officials are looking for ways to offer them the protection for which they have come. These children are coming without parents and most do not have family support in the country. A bill recently introduced in Congress would provide legal representation for detainees, namely these children, in an effort to provide them with the support they desperately need.
President Obama has labeled this mass increase of children immigrants a humanitarian crisis. Many state representatives believe this bill, one that would provide representation for these children’s immigration cases, is simply the right thing to do and that these children should not be forced to face deportation hearings alone. California Representative Karen Bass is one of those standing behind the bill and would like to see it pass.
In 2013, approximately 25,000 minors faced deportation proceedings on their own. This year, that number is expected to grow to about 60,000. The ages of these children are all over the board, but some are as young as 5 and many are held for months before their cases are heard. It is believed by some that providing legal representation will also be a cheaper option for the government in the long run, as detaining these children for extended periods of time is proving to be rather expensive.
Children making the dangerous trek to America should not have to face deportation proceedings alone. While this bill has yet to be passed, representation for detainees is available and may help these children stay in the country. Immigrants in California, young or old, could certainly benefit from utilizing available representation to make sure their rights are being considered in deportation proceedings.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Flood of Immigrant Children Need Lawyers, Advocates Say“, John Cadiz Klemack, June 23, 2014