Name of Host Organization: ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
City, State: San Francisco, California
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman Foundation
Stephen worked to establish a right to appointed counsel and greater due process protections for unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings through direct representation, impact litigation, and advocacy.
Need Addressed By Project
Every year, an increasing number of unaccompanied children—some as young as five years old—are funneled into the deportation system. The Vera Institute of Justice recently issued a report finding that more than 8,000 children were placed into removal proceedings in fiscal year 2010; a recent New York Times story states that this number rose to 11,000 during the first eight months of 2012. Without a right to appointed counsel in removal proceedings, those who cannot hire lawyers or find pro bono counsel must represent themselves. Immigration law is notoriously complicated. Without legal representation, many children will not receive the relief to which they are entitled. The absence of a right to appointed counsel for unaccompanied minors results directly in the unjust detention and deportation of thousands of immigrant children.