A two-year-old immigrant had her day in court on September 17, 2018, in New York Immigration Court. One of almost 30 children under 18 to appear in court, she was the youngest child to have her case heard that day. This is not a rare occurrence. The Trump administration has taken a harsh tack in addressing cases in which children and their parents have entered the country seeking asylum or hoping to be granted permanent residency status. In many cases, parents and children have been separated for weeks or months while the complexities of their immigration status are determined in the immigration court system.
Children Asked to Testify on Their Own Behalf
One of the most frightening effects of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration is the presence of children as young as two years of age in courtroom settings. Many of these children have no idea why they are in court or how to respond to the questions they are asked. Most do not speak English, and younger children may not be able to respond in Spanish or their native language. A number of children have appeared in court alone without an adult or a New York immigration lawyer to represent their interests before the immigration judge.
Seeking Safety in the United States
Many of the children who appear in New York’s immigration court system have fled dangerous conditions in their home country. These children are often held in shelters pending their court dates, which can be delayed for weeks of months because of backlogs in the system. For children separated from their parents and family members, this can cause serious psychological trauma that can last their entire lives.
The Vital Importance of Legal Representation
Especially for children who are too young to enter into a legal contract or to understand the legal process, ensuring the presence of a New York immigration lawyer can provide a measure of safety and protection for these vulnerable minors. A qualified New York immigration lawyer can offer expert representation for those who cannot speak for themselves and can ensure that their rights are protected throughout the legal process.
At Pozo Goldstein, our team of immigration attorneys can provide the right representation for children and adults when navigating the U.S. immigration system. We work with families to help resolve visa issues and to work toward legal asylum in the U.S. Call us today at 212-201-9031 to schedule a free initial consultation in our office. We look forward to meeting you and your family.