Outrage is the general feeling among immigration activists after it was discovered that approximately 7,000 immigrant children received orders to leave the country. While deportation is an issue that affects immigrants across the nation, including many in California, the concern about these deportation orders comes from a lack of proper due process. According to a recent report, these children were allegedly not given the opportunity to defend themselves at their deportation and removal proceedings.
Thousands of young immigrants flooded through the United States southern border back in 2013. Since their arrival, these children have been placed in detention centers located all across the country. This created significant problems for an immigration system that was already back-logged with cases.
Immigrants are supposed to be informed about and given the opportunity to attend their immigration and removal proceedings. Activists are claiming that many of these children were not notified of their court dates, that their notices arrived after the fact or that their proceedings were being held too far from where they are currently residing. Several lawsuits are currently pending concerning immigrants who have faced similar circumstances.
Currently, the law allows an immigration judge the ability to order deportation if an immigrant fails to appear in court. Unfortunately, many undocumented individuals living in California and elsewhere seem to be missing their deportation and removal proceedings due to a lack of notification. Immigrants do have the right to attend these proceedings and, also, have the right to obtain representation to assist in the process. Those who have been ordered to leave the country, including these children, do have the right to file a formal appeal and fight for the ability to stay.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “7,000 immigrant children ordered deported without going to court“, Kate Linthicum, March 6, 2015