WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 12, 2016) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates applauds Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for his introduction of the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act.
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid introduced the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act. This legislation would require the government to appoint counsel to unaccompanied children and vulnerable individuals, such as those with disabilities or victims of abuse, torture, or violence. Additionally, it would require immigration officials to start ensuring that legal orientation programs are available to all detained immigrants.
“We applaud Minority Leader Reid for his efforts to repair this injustice in our broken immigration system, which has become inundated with more than 400,000 pending cases. This has made our immigration system ineffective at processing refugees with the compassion they deserve. It is shocking that there is no right to representation for refugees who must argue their case and even more unsettling that more than half of unaccompanied children are not represented at all in deportation proceedings,” said Leslie Moe-Kaiser, OCA National President.
“These vulnerable individuals – women and children – have no resources to argue their case even though these deportation proceedings are frequently a matter of life or death,” continued Moe-Kaiser. “The desperation that causes refugees to leave everything behind, and in some cases send only their children, cannot be understated. If deported, these families can face persecution, torture, abuse, or even death, so they deserve a fair day in court to prove their case.”
“The current crisis of unaccompanied minors stirs emotion in the hearts of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders because much of our immigration history has been defined by refugee resettlements. From those who escaped the war-torn provinces of China in the early 20th century to the Rohingya refugees fleeing religious persecution in Myanmar today, America has represented the promise of a better life free from fear, a representation we must strive to maintain,” concluded Moe-Kaiser.