CGRS Files Brief in Support of Access to Counsel for Immigrant Children

April 3, 2018 - Under U.S. and international law, children fleeing persecution have the right to a meaningful opportunity to present claims for protection. But because children are not guaranteed legal counsel in U.S. immigration proceedings, many are forced to navigate our complex immigration system alone. Last year CGRS filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioner in C.J.L.G. v. Sessions, a case involving an unaccompanied child who fled his home country of Honduras after receiving multiple death threats from gang members. We argued that all children – especially asylum-seeking children who have experienced trauma – need an attorney representing their interests to ensure a fair hearing.

Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a negative ruling in C.J.L.G., holding that immigrant children do not have a right to appointed counsel. The child’s legal team is now requesting rehearing en banc (by the full court), and in March CGRS filed an amicus brief in support of that request. We are also consulting with the team to provide guidance on their legal strategy going forward. In addition to our involvement in appellate cases like C.J.L.G., CGRS continues to support legislative efforts to provide government-appointed attorneys for children facing deportation.

Photo from Eric Gay, Associated Press.