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Children Who Defend Themselves in Court

Anyone facing a federal felony charge, no matter what their age may be, is entitled to representation at no cost.

Except in federal juvenile immigration court.

There, child immigrants who have crossed into the United States by themselves, some as young as 9 years, are placed before a federal judge and a federal prosecutor to represent themselves.

The results are not a surprise.

According to a study by Syracuse University, 60% of children without representation were eventually deported. Those children fortunate enough to have a lawyer were deported only 10% of the time.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suite against the Justice Department, claiming that the current procedure is “outdated” and that the federal court system has a “moral obligation to see these children are given representation free of charge.”