Right to Appointed Counsel for Children in Immigration Proceedings

Right to Appointed Counsel for Children in Immigration Proceedings

F.L.B. v. Lynch (J.E.F.M. v. Holder), No. 2:14-cv-01026 (W.D. Wash. filed July 9, 2014)

STATUS:
Pending

On July 9, 2014, the American Immigration Council, with co-counsel American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP, filed a lawsuit seeking recognition of a right to appointed counsel for unrepresented children in immigration proceedings nationwide. Named Plaintiffs in the case, children as young as one year old, are scheduled to appear in immigration court without any legal representation.

The complaint charges the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Executive Office for Immigration Review, and Office of Refugee Resettlement with violating the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions requiring a “full and fair hearing” before an immigration judge. It seeks to require the government to provide unrepresented children who are unable to pay for attorneys with legal representation in their immigration proceedings.

In September 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court held that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington lacked jurisdiction on both the constitutional and statutory claims. In November 2018, the Ninth Circuit denied Plaintiffs’ request for rehearing. 

With the same co-counsel, the Council is now representing two individual children who were ordered removed by immigration judges while unrepresented by attorneys in petitions for review. The two cases are before the Ninth Circuit: C.J.L.G. v. Barr and Hernandez-Galand v. Barr.

Follow this case:

May 13, 2014

News stories and NGO reports continue to document the plight of “unaccompanied children,” and their complex legal issues were brought to the attention of Congress when Attorney General Eric Holder...

May 12, 2011

Findings released last week by the New York Immigration Representation Study reveal what immigration advocates long have said: whether a person has legal representation is a critical factor in...

November 5, 2009

A report issued this week by the City Bar Justice Center highlights one of the most serious flaws of the removal process: noncitizens are not appointed a lawyer to represent them. The report...

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