Guwahati, August 9, 2019
As the NRC is being readied in Assam to filter out the illegal migrants amid much drama, thousand of miles away in the US, migrant children as young as three are being called to immigration courts without the presence of their parents or a lawyer.
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The incident came into focus after a short film made by filmmaker Linda Freedman for the nonprofit Immigration ‘Counseling Service’, which recreated the heartbreaking reality of such courtrooms, with children as young as three or four years old being forced to represent themselves on matters like deportation.
Reportedly, Freedman said that in recent years, the number of unaccompanied immigrant children migrating to the United States has nearly tripled and they have no representation or legal counsel, leaving them vulnerable and alone.
According to a 2016 Univision data report, more than nine out of ten children who appear alone in immigration courts are deported, whereas nearly half of those who are represented by a lawyer are allowed to remain. Unfortunately, under US law, children arrested for illegally entering the country don’t have the right to demand a court-appointed lawyer or interpreter.
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