House Democrats Introduce Fair Day in Court For Kids Act

April 6, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, 23 House Democrats, led by U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D- Ill.), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), introduced legislation to protect children and other vulnerable groups in immigration proceedings by ensuring access to counsel, legal orientation programs, and case management services.

The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act will ensure due process for children and vulnerable individuals, and offer an alternative to ICE raids by the Trump Administration that strike fear in immigrant communities and deport individuals to dangerous countries where they face violence, abuse, or even death.

Under current law, there is no right to appointed counsel in immigration removal proceedings, even if the respondent is a child.  Statistics show the overwhelming majority of children without attorneys are ordered deported while children with attorneys are five times more likely to be granted protection.

The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act:

  1. Requires the government to appoint counsel to children, and vulnerable individuals, including those with disabilities and victims of abuse, torture, or violence.
  2. Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Attorney General to establish procedures to ensure that legal orientation programs are available to all detained immigrants.
  3. Creates a case management pilot project to increase court appearance rates.
  4. Requires DHS to submit reports to Congress on the number of individuals identified in the Act who were represented by counsel and the number of individuals who received legal orientation presentations.

Original cosponsors of the bill include Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Luis Gutierrez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, John Conyers, Judy Chu, Jim McGovern, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Joe Crowley, Marc Veasey, Raul Grijalva, Grace Napolitano, Mike Quigley, Suzanne Bonamici, Albio Sires, John Yarmuth, Suzan DelBene, Linda T. Sanchez, Keith Ellison, Bobby Scott, Jared Huffman, Gwen Moore, Norma Torres, John Lewis.

# # #