July 1, 2019: State Bar Association Calls on U.S. Government to End Inhumane Treatment of Detained Immigrant Children

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is calling on the United States government to end inhumane treatment of immigrant children immediately, reunite children with their parents and families, and provide basic necessities, such as medical care and proper nutrition, to all children in its custody.

NYSBA’s call for action is outlined in a resolution, which reflects the 143-year Association’s long-standing commitment to supporting the rule of law, access to justice, and due process.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms possible, the shameful and merciless treatment of children in the custody of the federal government,” said NYSBA President Hank Greenberg. “The conditions under which many of them are being held gravely threaten their well-being and physical and emotional development. It is unconscionable and must cease immediately.”  

On June 28, 2019, NYSBA’s executive committee passed a resolution, urging the state to enact a right to counsel in immigration proceedings, thereby guaranteeing legal representation for immigrants facing deportation.

Recent news accounts revealed that nearly 350 children — including unaccompanied minors who traveled to the United States alone, as well as children who were separated from their families at the border — were being held in a federal immigration detention facility in Texas under deplorable conditions.

Attorneys at work in the facility report that children were being held in inhumane conditions, including being forced to sleep on cold floors, going without food and necessary medical treatment for such conditions as flu and lice, being denied access to the rudiments of basic hygiene, and leaving the care and comfort of the youngest children in the hands of children only a few years older.

NYSBA has actively promoted and participated in efforts to assist immigrants in New York and throughout the United States. The association has supported the work of pro bono volunteer lawyers at the Canadian border and in the most remote corners of New York’s rural communities.

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About the New York State Bar Association

The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.

Contact: Dan Weiller
dweiller@nysba.org
518-369-5550