Unaccompanied Minors Are Starting to Represent Themselves in Immigration Court

Unaccompanied minors are starting to represent themselves in immigration court. This is alarming news, In 2023, 44% of unaccompanied minors were not represented by counsel.

Every single other court in the United States guarantees defendants(including minors) the right to counsel, except for immigration court. There is a shortage of attorneys in immigration court and because of this it is crippling one of the most important branches of the American Justice system.

The DOJ(Department of Justice) had reported in 2023 that only 56% of unaccompanied minors in immigration court were given counsel. This is an alarming statistic, almost half of the minors who needed counsel were not able to get any kind of counsel and for this reason we can not be sure if they were given fair treatment under the law.

"We are instituting with the Department of Justice a process to accelerate asylum proceedings so that individuals who do not qualify for relief can be removed more quickly and those who do qualify can achieve protection sooner," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in a press release.The Biden administration has recently made moves to help the huge backlog of asylum cases, a lot of experts are saying that this move is very narrow and wont help with unaccompanied minors not being represented.

According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, only about 30% of all migrants are able to obtain legal representation.

"The Court backlog has increased more than threefold since September 2019," the research group said. "This also means that three times as many immigrants need attorneys."

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