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07/09/14 | Groups Sue over Failure to Provide Lawyers for Children in Deportation Proceedings

Washington D.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.

Each year, the government initiates immigration court proceedings against thousands of children. Some of these youth grew up in the United States and have lived in the country for years, and many have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. The Obama Administration even recently called an influx of children coming across the Southern border a "humanitarian situation." And yet, thousands of children required to appear in immigration court each year do so without an attorney. This case seeks to remedy this unacceptable practice.

"If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "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."

The plaintiffs in this case include:

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07/09/14 | Groups Sue Federal Government over Failure to Provide Legal Representation for Children

The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.

Each year, the government initiates immigration court proceedings against thousands of children. Some of these youth grew up in the United States and have lived in the country for years, and many have fled violence and persecution in their home countries. The Obama Administration even recently called an influx of children coming across the Southern border a "humanitarian situation." And yet, thousands of children required to appear in immigration court each year do so without an attorney. This case seeks to remedy this unacceptable practice.

"If we believe in due process for children in our country, then we cannot abandon them when they face deportation in our immigration courts," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "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."

The plaintiffs in this case include:

Read more...
06/30/14 | New Practice Advisory Regarding Notices to Appear

The American Immigration Council, ABA Commission on Immigration and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights are pleased to announce the release of the practice advisory, Notices to Appear:  Legal Challenges and Strategies.

The Notice to Appear is the charging document used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to notify a noncitizen about immigration charges and a future immigration court hearing. Filing a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) with the immigration court places an individual in a removal proceeding before a judge and is a significant step in the removal process. Various officials within the three major immigration-related components of the Department of Homeland Security — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — are empowered to issue NTAs, which trigger removal proceedings in immigration court. At various points after an NTA is issued, an attorney may negotiate with DHS to obtain a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. DHS has discretion either to file the NTA with the court, thus going forward with removal proceedings, to drop or revise certain charges, or to cancel the NTA and thus end the removal proceedings. After the NTA is filed, DHS can exercise discretion through a joint motion asking the judge to administratively close or terminate proceedings. The decisions made by DHS about Notices to Appear are not just ministerial, but can impact the lives of noncitizens and their families in significant ways.

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The Council in the News

Beth Werlin, Deputy Legal Director for the American Immigration Council, discusses the recent nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them with EbruNews.

Watch the clip below.


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EbruNews | 07/11/14

On MSNBC, Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, pushes back against the idea that America should not protect children and women crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Watch the clip below.

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MSNBC | 07/05/14

The Immigration Policy Center's report "Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA" was cited in the NBC article "White House To Honor DACA Recipients As Champions of Change." The data from this report examines the gains made by DACA recipients over the two year since the program was announced.

"The Obama Administration issued deferred deportation as an executive order two years ago. Since that time tens of thousands of undocumented young immigrants known as DREAMers have applied and just recently became eligible to renew their two-year deportation deferments.

study released Monday by Harvard researchers Roberto Gonzálesand Angie M. Bautista-Chavez for the American Immigration Council found almost 60 percent of deferred deportation (DACA) recipients surveyed had been able to obtain new jobs, 45 percent had increased their earnings, and almost six-in-ten had obtained driver's licenses, broadening education and employment options."

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NBC | 06/16/14