July 23, 2014: ''Basic Fairness'' Requires Counsel for Immigrant Children, Says State Bar Association President Lau-Kee

Children facing possible deportation should have legal representation at immigration hearings, New York State Bar Association President Glenn Lau-Kee wrote Tuesday in a letter to the members of the state congressional delegation, urging that funding for this purpose be provided.

“At the hearings, the government will be represented by an attorney and a judge will sit to hear the matter and render a decision. It is inconceivable that a child, probably with limited understanding of English, will have any concept of what is taking place. And, of course, it is the child’s future that is at stake,” Lau-Kee wrote.

“These proceedings would lack the sense of basic fairness we expect in legal proceedings in our country if the child were not to have counsel,” he added.

President Obama has requested a $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with the flood of about 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the southern border of the nation since October. Lau-Kee urged that any appropriation approved by Congress include funding for legal representation for children.

Text of Lau-Kee’s letter is available at www.nysba.org/immigrationlettertocongress072214.

The 75,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  It was founded in 1876.

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Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director, Media Services and Public Affairs
Lbang-jensen@nysba.org
518-487-5530