A new federal court ruling effectively states that undocumented minors are not entitled to legal representation in court. In practice, this means that even a toddler could be forced to appear before an immigration judge to argue his or her case for legal status and to avoid deportation.
A three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit recently ruled on the case of a Honduran teenager named CJ. CJ fled to the U.S. when he was 13 after facing violent threats for refusing to join a local gang. As such, he sought asylum status. Unfortunately, he had no legal representation and was unable to effectively argue his case and faces deportation to Honduras. This most recent ruling states that this outcome is perfectly legal and that CJ had no right to an appointed lawyer.
Because of this ruling, many thousands of undocumented youths face the prospect of deportation after a farcical trial. It will almost certainly also discourage many minors from seeking legitimate residency status, given the way the deck is stacked.
The Ninth Circuit Court, with its decision, has demonstrated an inability to provide justice and compassion for some of the most vulnerable individuals in the United States. As such, it is the responsibility of the U.S. Supreme Court to have the final word on a matter that will have far-reaching consequences if left unchanged.
Tell SCOTUS to step in by adding your name to this petition in addition to sharing it with friends, family and social media! Together we will see that justice is done.