(Washington, D.C.) April 14, 2016 — Today, more than 93,000 children seeking asylum in the United States are forced to represent themselves in court without a lawyer. These children have fled violence, persecution and extreme poverty in their home countries, and now must navigate the legal system on their own.
Without access to counsel, an individual’s claim to asylum or other immigration relief cannot be adequately presented or adjudicated, and poses more significant challenges for young children.
To address this challenge, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) have introduced the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016, a bill which would ensure that every child has the legal representation they need and deserve when going before the immigration courts.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and 13 U.S.-based Jesuit law schools applaud the introduction of this important legislation, which will address the critical gap in access to legal counsel for thousands of vulnerable asylum seekers, including children.
Please join Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, a staunch advocate for the rights of asylum seekers, in standing up for the rights of children to secure appropriate, effective legal counsel so that they have a fair chance at due process.
Take a moment to ask your Senators and Representative to co-sponsor the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016. For this vital legislation to pass, it will take all of us speaking out in favor of it.