AG Takes Action to Support Legal Representation for Children in Deportation Proceedings

Attorney General Takes Action to Support Legal Representation for Children in Deportation Hearings

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Attorney General Bob Ferguson yesterday asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash. for permission to file an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief in the J.E.F.M. v. Holder lawsuit. Ferguson believes that unaccompanied immigrant children — children under the age of 18 who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when they are apprehended in the United States — should not be forced to represent themselves in complex deportation hearings in which the child’s future is at stake.

This class-action lawsuit was filed on July 9, 2014 on behalf of thousands of children, challenging the federal government’s failure to ensure they have legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them. For the most part, these children are fleeing to escape violence and crime back in their home countries. A majority of the children are coming from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Washington state is not a party to the lawsuit. Ferguson seeks to file a friend of the court brief because Washington has a significant interest in assuring that the unaccompanied immigrant children residing in our state receive full and fair hearings.

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