Migrants’ Right to Counsel Argued

David Rogers, Politico, September 3, 2014

The Justice Department and immigrant-rights attorneys clashed before a federal judge in Seattle on Wednesday–a case dramatizing the split personality in the Obama administration over the question of providing counsel to child migrants faced with deportation hearings.

No less than Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate last year that it is “inexcusable” that young children “have immigration decisions made on their behalf, against them, whatever and they’re not represented by counsel. That’s simply not who we are as a nation.”

But in making the case for Justice on Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Leon Fresco painted a dire picture of what would result if the court were to insist that children be assured counsel before any deportation hearing.

“A preliminary injunction which says that there is a constitutional right to counsel would mean–without an appropriation from Congress, which I believe is unlikely–that you could not remove any child under the age of 18 years old from the United States,” Fresco argued. “Meaning the border is completely open for children under 18.”

“The government cannot stop the removal proceedings of every immigrant youth in the United States,” Fresco said. “That would create a magnet effect that the United States is not prepared to handle. . . . That is free education for all those children being funded by localities and the states. That is whatever medical claims those children need plus an insecure border because you have now sent the message internationally that no one here is going to be removed.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly made no ruling at the end of the arguments, which ran close to three hours Wednesday morning. {snip}


The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, the American Immigration Council and an arm of the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, are among the major players in the bringing of the suit. And the choice posed to the court frames a central question in the debate now in Washington over the fate of thousands of children from Central America who have crossed into the U.S. this year, unaccompanied by parents or an adult relative.

The plaintiffs are six children from Guatemala and El Salvador, all of whom face immigration proceedings this month, some as early as this week. It’s thus expected that Zilly must deal with the narrow injunction request soon, but also at stake is a larger class-action case with national implications.

“There are already, all around the country, proceedings going forward against children. . . . In Dallas children have been ordered removed in absentia,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, an ACLU attorney who helped present the case against the government. Children, he said, face a catch-22 situation, because if they later appeal on the grounds of not having counsel, the claim will be judged moot because they will then have counsel for the appeal.”


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  • Samuel_Morton

    “Meaning the border is completely open for children under 18.”

    I’m glad he’s stating the obvious implications of Holder’s treachery, but we’re already there. Our border has been completely open to ‘youths’ for a year now.

    • IstvanIN

      “Meaning the border is completely open for children under 18.” Or those who claim to be under 18.

      • DonReynolds

        They have no verifiable identity or date of birth. Schools are already complaining about the new “teen” students having graying hair. Their age is whatever they say it is…..in the meantime.

        • Ella

          These school districts should also worry about possible increase of law suits if sexual assault does occur on campus grounds.

    • phillyguy

      A year, the border has been open for the last 30 years

    • That dude’s career with the DOJ is over.

  • MekongDelta69

    May I suggest yet again, “Operation Wetback” – Take II.

    • Nancy

      That’s the only solution: Operation Wetback 2.0.

      • A W-79 on Mexico City would end this very quickly. I would want a ground burst, so the place would become a deep lake again.

    • Sick of it

      Or the Mexican-American War 2.0

      If they invade our country, they are declaring war upon us.

    • Bossman

      This is not the 1950s. No such thing can happen again. Mexico is now a member of NAFTA and the intent of that treaty is just more North American integration and it is happening in all kinds of ways.

      • me

        “This is not the 1950s. No such thing can happen again.” Every leftist moron and communist, ‘post-modernist’ hipster has used that tired piece of tripe. A country is not just a mass of land–it’s a PEOPLE.
        NAFTA? No. North American Union? No.
        What has been written yesterday can be unwritten tomorrow. What may be true today may be proven false tomorrow. What has seized power through deceit may be toppled tomorrow. What reigns in silks today may starve in tatters tomorrow. This is not the 1980s. Slick Willie signed NAFTA into law, and should be charged with treason, as well as that Sapphic wife of his. The Clintons are NWO Merchants and communist traitors. No one has any trust or respect for the Clintons anymore. You’re underestimating the iron will and courage of the citizens of the United States. We’re going to defy the globalist Merchants and take back our hard-earned, fought for, and laboriously built country, by rights and by justice. We created, built, and fought for this land and nation, and for our childrens’ inheritance, and we aren’t going to just hand it over to the Merchant globalists and the Third World invading hordes, looking for a free ride on our labor. This country was created and paid for by the will of our souls and the sweat of our brows, as well as our fearless ancestors’ blood, sweat, toil, and tears.

        • DonReynolds

          My favorite example of a treaty that was later ignored was the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact in 1939. Did not really mean what it said, no?

        • Bill Moore

          Hello me,

          I hope you are correct, but I fear you are wrong.

          Most of the USA voted for Obama, twice.

          And the direction I see the country going is to vote someone worse than Obama in 2016.

          We’re finished as a country.

          Bill Moore

  • IstvanIN

    Ahilan Arulanantham, an ACLU attorney Where do I live, Babylon 5?

    • Sick of it

      You certainly got the Babylon part right.

  • IstvanIN

    I could understand a permanent resident alien or a naturalized citizen having a right to counsel during deportation hearings, but these kids are here illegally and should simply and promptly returned to their home countries.

    • DonReynolds

      Unaccompanied children are runaways!

      • me

        They’re runnatowards. Or, is it runnatards? They are INVADERS. Looking for undeserved largesse off of the labor of others, in a country they’ve invaded. And most of these ‘children’ are sixteen to sixty.

  • willbest

    Pretty sure this was a sales pitch in disguise.

    First, economic arguments are entirely irrelevant when interpreting the constitution. All the attorney was doing was pointing out that there aren’t enough resources to provide children with attorneys, so the result will be chaotic mess of ambiguous legal status.

    Second, the desired outcome of the desired outcome is to allow these “kids” to stay. So presenting a non argument as to why they shouldn’t have attorneys is tacitly saying the should have attorneys.

  • Truthseeker

    No less than Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate last year that
    it is “inexcusable” that young children “have immigration decisions
    made on their behalf, against them, whatever and they’re not represented
    by counsel. That’s simply not who we are as a nation.”

    Mr. Holder, America is not a nation, it’s an empire. Your nation and mine are not the same. The way your people do things and the way my people do things are different. If your nation wants to give illegal invaders representation, go ahead and do it in a nation-state for your people. My nation, which founded the country we live in, demands the right to sovereignty in the land of our ancestors, and believes that those who enter illegally should be expelled in accordance with the law.

    • me

      Oh, the irony! Even though Barry and Eric claim to be “Constitutional Scholars’, what they really are–two communist, affirmative action, racist Negroes with a score to settle against ‘Whitey’. They effin’ HATE this country, the people who built it, and everything it stands for.

  • none of your business

    Legally speaking, I think the immigration attorneys (curse be on their name) will win. But Judges interpret the constitution exactly as they please and just make up the law according to the latest fads and personal opinions.

    By the way, a big LBGT demonstration in favor of unlimited illegal immigration is planned for this weekend. Hope any mesicans who see one of the demos yell “dirty maricon” and whatever slur they use for lesbiana. I guess they are trying to resurrect the rainbow flag again.

  • DonReynolds

    Since no minor can be charged with a crime, under the American (and British) legal tradition, there is no reason why they should be represented by an attorney in immigration proceedings. (A person has a right to an attorney if they are charged with a crime.)

    Unaccompanied minors (foreign and domestic) are runaways and should be immediately returned to their homes. They are underaged and therefore lack the legal capacity of an adult and therefore cannot request asylum or an adjudication of their “immigration status”.

    The law has never been so confused about what to do about runaway children.

    • They can be charged with crimes, but punishment for those is a tad difficult.

      • DonReynolds

        They are not charged with crimes, Mr. Scott…..that is the sole reason we have a juvenile justice system, otherwise we would simply have everyone in criminal court.

        Juvenile proceedings are not open to the public (or the press) nor is there any required disclosure nor are their misdeeds kept in the criminal database.

        No matter how badly they act, the most the juvenile justice system can do is put them in “reform school” until they turn 18 (or 21 in some states).

        This little fundamental flaw in our system is why the drug cartels recruit underaged minors to do what would be very serious felonies, were they done by adults….. including murder, assault, arson, drug dealing, auto theft, gun running, prostitution, kidnapping, etc etc. Yes, they are not just street gangs…..little Spanky and Our Gang. They have adult handlers, no pun intended.

        • I would be happy to charge these criminal Mexican invaders with articles 5.56, 7.62 and 7.92 in violation of my rights. I prefer the 7.92 rule, as it has a nice ring to it, and there has never been any appeal when I applied that.

          • Ngati Pakeha

            Do you prefer article .44, .357 or .50 for infractions closer to home? Bearing in mind the cumulative effect of the less weighted articles could cause the same effect.

    • Bossman

      Well then, if they can’t be charged with a crime, then they should not be brought into a court of law. What if these “runaways” are really being sent by their parents to live with friends and relatives in the USA as is the case with many of them?

      • DonReynolds

        Clearly a case of “child endangerment”, proven in fact by those who have been found dead along the way. Add to that, encouraging a child to commit a Federal crime, child abandonment, child abuse and neglect…….and in some cases, the crime of re-entry to the USA after being deported.

        But I would agree…..they should not be brought into any court in the US. They should be turned back at the border or returned to the crossing point and put back over the border.

      • me

        Again, another unfounded and ridiculous supposition from the troll…

    • me

      The law isn’t confused, and neither is our rogue ‘government’. This is by design.

  • ..

  • mobilebay

    “That’s not who we are as a nation.” Well, Mr. Holder, how about telling us just who we truly are as a nation. Are we a nation of laws? A sovereign nation? A nation who puts its own citizens first? A nation who guards its border to protect its people? A nation who is careful to bring in people who contribute rather than drain? A nation who know that more people is not necessarily better? A nation who does not knuckle under to any other, especially the third world countries who feel it is out duty to take care of their people? I could go on, Mr. Attorney General, but for now I’ll be satisfied if you can give us a logical answer to the above questions. We’re waiting….and waiting.

    • dmxinc

      Always great to read the thoughts of a rational person.

      Too bad none seem to exist in our present government and the citizenry is just fine with that

      • Malgus

        None exist in our government because only sociopaths and psychopaths are drawn to power. Our politicians will stand there and lie smoothly and evenly to your face – I am quite convinced that they could pass a lie detector test doing it, too – but as soon as they get into office, they do what is in their own best interest. And you? You and your puny problems were never a concern of theirs. That people consistently think otherwise only shows how gullible most people are.

        Lying without breaking a sweat – almost incapable of telling the truth – seeking more and greater power for themselves – for after all, what do all men in power crave? More power. – completely self serving and possessing no sense of empathy whatsoever? Sounds like a good working definition of “psychopath” to me…

        Ironically, the only man fit for the job of President – or any other position of power – is the man who does not want the job the most. For it is he who is wise enough to know that power corrupts absolutely and so he shuns it…

    • Chasmania

      Sadly, the answer will be “No” to most, if not all, of your questions to Mr Holder.

      They (The progressives) are seeking fundamental change, and illegals are useful shock troops in that battle.

  • LHathaway

    Children under 18 years of age flocking to the USA. Interesting that this story follows one about sexual ‘grooming’ in the UK.

    • joe pat

      Many of these ‘children’ have grey hair.

      And the federal government is prohibiting local schools from asking ANY questions about their age.

      • IstvanIN

        But an American has to have a BC and SS card for their child as well as pay the taxes to support the mess.

  • Chasmania

    The whole thing does smack of theater. False indignation followed by a hapless shrug of the shoulders as the rails are further greased for allowing in a few million more illegals.

  • Look_A_Squirrel

    Our laws apply to our citizens – we have no obligation to extend the same rights to law breakers from other countries.

    Our government IS charged with securing our borders from invasion – Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution.

    • Bossman

      When the Framers wrote that stuff, I doubt that they were thinking of small unarmed children. There is nothing in the Constitution about immigration except that there should be uniform rules for making people citizens of the USA.

      • DonReynolds

        Lemmie guess…..it is only an invasion if they have heavy cannon and march in tight formations? They knew exactly what invasion looks like…..by American Indians, by the Spanish, by Pirates, …… This country is being invaded. Hitler, Mao and Stalin never knew just how easy it could be.

      • me

        Most of these ‘children’ are in their late teens….who are you trying to kid? INVASION IS ILLEGAL AND GROUNDS FOR WAR. Troll.

      • M.

        The thing with children is that they grow up and may become thugs and welfare queens.

        • IstvanIN

          Absolutely. Children and women pose a much bigger long term threat than men do.

          • Bossman

            How so? Those children will grow up to be Americans.

      • These small unarmed children say they are minors, but often have grey hair and facial tattoos.

        I’d shoot them all day long and sleep well-contented after good work. This is not Mexico. Get over it.

        • IstvanIN

          I have to agree with you. We should have a no-man’s zone between us and them.

    • Since these criminal invaders don’t have the right to be here in the first place, why should they have the right to taxpayer-provided lawyers?

  • joe pat

    It is typical of this traitor government to put up a weak defense on something like this that they don’t really want – in the hopes of getting a ‘ruling’ that circumvents congress.