Trump’s Immigration Policy Forces Children to Defend Themselves Before a Judge; Alone

July 6, 2018

Photo: El Periodico

As the depths of depravity against immigrant families in the U.S. continue to shock the world with each revelation, protests calling for the end of ICE are gaining momentum including Occupy ICE encampments outside immigration facilities in San Francisco and Philadelphia. – editorial.

As a result of the immigration policy of Donald Trump, immigrant minors are being summoned into courts without lawyers, that is, they must defend themselves.

The newspaper USA Today explains the story of a child less than three years of age who appeared before the judge and had to defend himself to avoid deportation. He tried to enter with his father, but was separated at the border when they crossed into the United Sates. A video of the NGO Unaccompanied Children, which has worked with immigrant communities since 1978, has gone viral in the last hours in social networks, for sharing a recreation of these trials to minors, reports the Catalan newspaper El Periódico.

“When children appear in immigration court alone, nine out of ten are deported. When they appear with a lawyer, the immigration courts have allowed almost half of the children to stay in the United States,” the video points out.

According to the filmmakers of the video, directed by Linda Freedman, it is a recreation of the typical procedures that take place every day in immigration courts throughout the United States.

The purpose of the video is to make the situation of these children visible and mobilize citizens: “I imagined the video is catching the interest of lawyers, law students, translators and others who could help unaccompanied children,” Freedman added.

Law experts say that children have no ability to defend themselves, much less in a language they barely understand.

“It is impossible to think that they will understand what is happening in the court, the charges presented against them by the federal government or understand what the prosecutor is saying as it is all inEnglish, a language that they do not comprehend,” explained Jaime Barrón, an immigration lawyer who practices in Dallas, Texas.

Although the US government is not obliged to provide an ex officio lawyer, most jurists consider that it must contemplate that a child cannot speak for itself and that mechanisms should exist to guarantee legal representation.

A majority of Americans believe that the “zero tolerance” immigration policy of the Trump administration has gone too far. Now they are outraged when they learn that these minors are being summoned to immigration courts without lawyers. In other words, they must defend themselves.

Source: Granma International, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau