ACLU Sues to Get Legal Representation for Migrant Children

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The American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant-rights groups are suing the federal government in a bid to get legal representation for the thousands of Central American migrant children who've been arriving at the United States' southern border.

"In court, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") will be represented by a trained lawyer who will argue for the child's deportation," the lawsuit states. "But no lawyer will stand with the child. Each will be required to respond to the charges against him or her, and, in theory, will be afforded an opportunity to make legal arguments and present evidence on his or her own behalf. But in reality those rights will be meaningless because children are not competent to exercise them. Each child has attempted to find representation through pro bono legal service providers, but none of them have found anyone with the resources to take on their cases. Absent this Court's intervention, these children will be forced to defend themselves pro se under the immigration laws - a legal regime that, as the courts have recognized, rivals the Internal Revenue Code in its complexity."

See also:
-Obama Wants to Speed Up Deportation of Immigrant Kids

The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and the law firm K&L Gates LLP filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight such children, each of whom facing circumstances that could possibly prevent their deportation.

The lawsuit cites several parts of immigration law that could allow these eight children to stay, including asylum claims, certain visa statuses, and other designations outlined in law.

For example, three of the children fled El Salvador due to extreme gang violence, which included witnessing the murder of their father. According to the lawsuit:
J.E.F.M. is a 10-year-old boy, and a native and citizen of El Salvador. He presently resides in Washington State. He is the youngest of four children born to his parents. His father was a former gang member, who then converted to Christianity and later became a pastor. J.E.F.M.'s mother was also a pastor. His parents met at church and together they started a rehabilitation center for people leaving gangs. Gang members retaliated against the center for housing young people trying to leave the gangs. First, they warned J.E.F.M.'s parents to stop assisting former gang members. Then they killed J.E.F.M.'s cousin. Two weeks later, gang members murdered J.E.F.M.'s father in the street in front of their house, while J.E.F.M. and his siblings watched. J.E.F.M.'s mother continued to be threatened after this incident, so she fled the country, leaving her children with their grandmother.

Approximately seven years later, the children also became targets of gang members in El Salvador. Gang members demanded that the children join and threatened them with harm if they did not. Rather than enter the gang, J.E.F.M. fled with his two older siblings. At the time he was only nine years old.

J.E.F.M. and his two siblings entered the United States around July 2013, were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"), and then placed in the custody of [the Office of Refugee Resettlement]. They were released to a family member fifteen days later. They have been residing in Washington State since their release. J.E.F.M. has a removal hearing in September 2014, but has no legal representation in his immigration case because he has no resources to hire private counsel and the legal service providers in the Seattle area are stretched well beyond capacity to take on the cases of children in removal proceedings. J.E.F.M. appears by his next friend, Bob Ekblad. Mr. Ekblad is a minister who has worked closely with J.E.F.M. and his family; he is familiar with J.E.F.M.'s immigration case and is truly dedicated to his best interests in this case.
This boy's teenage brother and sister are also represented in this lawsuit.

Other kids represented include victims of gang violence or other crimes, one kid now living in the U.S. with his permanent resident father, and other children in the country with possible claims to prevent their deportation.

The ACLU and other groups say that children certainly can't represent themselves in these proceedings, and be expected to argue aspects of immigration law.

"If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," ACLU staff attorney Ahilan Arulanantham says in a statement. "The government pays for a trained prosecutor to advocate for the deportation of every child. It is patently unfair to force children to defend themselves alone."

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is attempting to speed up the proceedings to deport the children who have arrived in the sudden influx at the border.

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Larry Gorst
Larry Gorst

ACLU is wrong, Let Obama ship out the people he lured in, with an amnesty.

fishingblues topcommenter

If Libertarian ideas were employed, we would not have a problem.

Immigrants' Rights: Argues that borders should be open but surveilled--everyone who does not pose a threat to public health or national security should be allowed to enter the country legally. Would eliminate all federal benefits to undocumented immigrants.


The correct term for them is ILLEGAL ALIENS, not migrants because if the shoe fits...


How fucking ridiculous. Why in the hell should the American people be responsible for footing the bill?  Those children should either be deported or exterminated because they come here spreading infectious diseases.

Obama should raise his mighty pen and pick up his phone and pass an executive order to deport them or is that one executive order you don't want him to enact?

Bruce Cromer
Bruce Cromer

Agree. Send them back just like the Mexican children. They have no legal status. So why give them legal representation.

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

How can you sue or represent somebody who cannot speak English, is not a citizen, nor has any sort of legal intentions of suing the federal government? Essentially, somebody can walk over here from Peru and sue the government for...what, not giving them a residence and a path to citizenship? Doesn't the ACLU stand for AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union? I didn't know that the ACLU also represented every freaking person on the South American continent.

Roger Morris
Roger Morris

Okay we get it they cannot stay. unfortunately George W Bush passed a law in 2008 that makes them have to stay and get due diligence just like any other human being. but despite what may be said Republicans want it 40 billion dollars at the border. the Senate passed a bill with 40 billion dollars at the borders. but people need to understand the 4.4 billion Secure Fence Act under Bush and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security its what the Secretary deem necessary. Congress House Republican Tea Party Sarah Palin booty sniffing loving idiots are at fault. Rick Perry jan Brewer need to go to the border and hand out donuts with that pancreatic Glenn Beck. Republicans created this humanitarian incident and now its at their doorsteps Obama is right and 4.4 billion is a far cry from the 40billion McStain et al got. the Senate is pissed at the house because the house didn't take the Senate bill and now its all JT Ready again at the GOP Border Beat.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishingblues "If Libertarian ideas were employed ..."

LOL! ... Liberkookian ideas haven't ever been gainfully employed, they reside in the permanent state of delusional simplistic idiocy.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

Why should we foot the bill? Because if according to our system we will give them a day in court, we also extend the right to allow them legal representation. That's the system and that's how it works. If you do not like the system we have established, leave. Why aren't you crying that we foot the bill for Arpaio, Horne and many others to be legally represented? They can afford their own legal defense (and could probably afford better attourneys than we pay for for them)

ExpertShot topcommenter

HEY Bonehead!  These kids are coming from CENTRAL America - which by the way dumbass is still AMERICA!.  You obvously haven't graduated from grade school yet - although I hope you at least learned that you live in NORTH America - which is ALSO part of America.  WHAT a dumbass!

You might want to also read the US Constitution and understand that there are many provisions which apply to ALL PERSONS - not just US Citizens.


What about all the Chinese, Indians, Iraqis and such who have been deported? And what about the NON children coming here that aren't being deported back to South America?  Obama must pass an executive order to deport the children.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

(If they did.........maybe they might win sometime. Evidently the lawyers I paid for for them aren't that good.........they keep losing........hahahahahaha)

DonkeyHotay topcommenter


Behold the wit and wisdom of fistingblues:

Fat, stupid, ugly = man-hating bull-dyke.

Fat, stupid and ugly.  The bull-dyke trifecta.

Fat-assed, man-hating bull-dyke DOES NOT equate to "good American.

The mutt is a fat-assed, man-hating bull-dyke

 Is that what they taught in bull-dyke school today?

Overbearing, bombastic, big-mouthed, butt-ugly, bull-dyke bitch.

Wow, a fucking cross-dressing she-male and an obese, butt ugly bull-dyke.

So mutt, besides being an obese, lazy, stupid and ugly bull-dyke, 

Stupid fucking bull-dyke.

Sorry fatso, I'm the wrong gender to be "your little tuna-tasting, rug-munching, crack-snacking, muff-diving, bull-dyke diddling bitch.

Why would ANYONE be interested in you?  You can't even get women to touch your tuna.  Skanky bull-dyke that you are.

That bull (dyke) would buck your ass off.

The mutt is a fat-asses,man-hating, muff-diving,rug-munching, tuna tickling, stinky old bull dyke.

The mutt is bitter because she "got ugly early" and then she got fat  and then no male would have her so she turned bull-dyke.

Seriously, any 300 pound, butt ugly, drooling bull-dyke is going to draw attention.

WOW!!!      Delirious, delusional and dumb as fuck.    Rug munching is making you crazy."

The  mutt is too stupid to know she is stupid.... fat, ugly, stupid,  man-hating bull-dyke that she is

fishingblues topcommenter


Gosh stinky, I know that offends your delicate sensibilities.  You always say such nice things.

(Of course, in context, in every case I was talking about the mutt.)

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