GOP, DOJ duel on migrants’ legal aid
Politico | 8/10/14:
House Republicans have again denied funding for the Justice Department to help child migrants obtain legal counsel when called before immigration courts to face deportation orders.
Government records indicate more than 40 percent of the children — many under 14 years of age and with little understanding of English — are processed through the system now without counsel. That figure is expected to go higher given the crowded docket of deportation hearings this summer and immigrant rights advocates say the result is a denial of due process.
Indeed, DOJ already faces a federal suit in Seattle arguing that the children can’t get a fair hearing without legal counsel. In connection with that suit, a Sept. 3 court date has been set to hear arguments on a preliminary injunction seeking to block the government from proceedings with deportation hearings unless it first provides counsel.
Mindful of this criticism, Attorney General Eric Holder has been more expansive in proposing to use federal funds to assist in getting lawyers, but he has run into a wall with the House GOP.
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