Louisville, KY- Last week, immigration activists filed a class-action lawsuit against the federal government accusing feds of violating the rights of minor immigrants flooding the Southern and failing to provide these young people with immigration attorneys as they move through deportation proceedings.
The lawsuit, filed in Seattle, alleges the government is violating due process by allowing these young immigrants to navigate the deportation process without the benefit of legal counsel. Because immigration and deportation proceedings are civil matters, and not criminal so courts are not required to provide legal counsel immigrants.
Immigrants, many of them under the age of 21, appear before immigration judges without the benefit of legal counsel. They have no idea what is at stake nor are they aware of their rights. Immigrants have a number of options to seek relief from deportation, but without legal help, these young immigrants have no idea what options they can pursue.
The ACLU of Southern California filed the suit naming five undocumented immigrants as plaintiffs in the suit and seeks to place an injunction barring the federal government from conducting any deportations until they agree to provide immigration lawyers to minor immigrants, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Refugee Resettlement have all been named as defendants in the suit.
Despite this lawsuit and criticism from immigration activists, the Justice Department has already begun to deport some of the immigrants who have been flooding the Southern Border in droves.
On Tuesday, multiple news agencies reported that at least forty Honduran immigrants, mostly women and children, were loaded onto airplanes headed for their home country.This group of deportees is just the beginning as the Obama administration has clearly stated they have a plan to fast-track deportations whenever possible.
“Our border is not open to illegal immigration,” he said. “Our message to those who come illegally is we will send you back,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a press conference at the Artesia facility where overflow from other facilities are being sent.
Unnamed officials from the Obama administration told NBC News that more immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will be deported over the next few weeks. Exactly how many immigrants will be deported is not known, but the expedient removals will likely please conservatives and give some relief to government agencies assigned to deal with this massive task.
This news has angered immigration activists who are urging President Obama to offer these immigrants relief from deportation.
Since last October, nearly 50,000 undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom are from Central America, have crossed the border illegally. And the flood of immigrants is not expected to slow in the near future, creating what President Obama described as an “urgent humanitarian crisis.”
Aside from opening new federal facilities and sending emergency relief to the border, federal agencies have launched publicity campaigns to discourage immigrants from attempting to cross the border without permission. Johnson’s appearance at the newly opened Artesia facility was part of the media campaign to discourage more illegal border crossings.