[For Spanish-language version of this press release, click here.]

The New York City Bar Association has issued a report of its second delegation of lawyers to Guatemala to examine legal developments in the aftermath of the 2013 prosecution of former President Efrain Rios-Montt and the ongoing appointment of judges to the Guatemalan courts, and to assess whether the management of the judiciary corresponds with strengthening the rule of law in Guatemala.

Like the 2013 Delegation, the July 2014 Delegation was organized by the City Bar’s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, with support from the Myrna Mack Foundation. The Delegation met with a broad range of interested participants in the development of the rule of law in Guatemala, including many of the individuals or their successors in office with whom the previous delegation met. These included the President (Magistrado Titular) of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court, the Chief Judge and Members of the High-Risk Court who conducted the trial in the Rios-Montt case, the College of Lawyers, and the Human Rights Ombudsman of Guatemala.

“The Delegation is wary of venturing too deeply into the particulars of the Guatemalan judiciary and legal system, based on its own limitations, as well as its proper role. However, its observations lead to a sense of crisis in the judiciary strongly challenging the rule of law in Guatemala and compelling engagement by neighbors and colleagues,” states the report.

The Rios-Montt case supplied examples of several features of the Guatemalan judicial process that participants frequently criticized, explains the report. These include: the qualifications, training, and support of judges; the assignment of cases to judges; the reported efforts to influence judges with bribes or threats; and the use of the constitutional challenge (amparo). The Delegation noted “a general view that the judiciary lacks appropriate respect, authority, and organization” and that “there is widespread resignation that change is impossible, despite recent advances in the rule of law, exemplified however inconclusively by the Rios Montt Case.”

The Delegation identified a consensus in Guatemala to seek to enhance the professionalism of the judiciary, a goal which seems appropriate, even urgent, based on the observations of the Delegation, as well as the 2013 Delegation. The Rios-Montt Case and its aftermath drew worldwide attention to the Guatemalan judicial system, and observers “generally expressed puzzlement and concern over certain aspects of that case and subsequent events, notably reversal of a substantive decision on procedural grounds leaving no apparent likelihood of resumption.”

However, the Delegation did not observe that this international concern about the Guatemalan judiciary and more broadly the rule of law have forged a consensus for significant reform among Guatemalan elected officials, the legal profession, or the business community.  “Such reform seems timely, even urgent, and essential if Guatemala is to present itself as seeking to strengthen the rule of law and engage more successfully with international business.”

In the view of the Delegation, this reform effort should include the following issues: judicial qualification, judicial appointment, judicial training and support, judicial protection, judicial discipline, case assignment, and judicial review.

The report offers the following recommendations for reforming judicial selection to “create a more firm foundation for progress toward the shared ideal of a competent and appropriately independent and empowered judiciary over the course of years,” in the hopes of reducing the number of applicants and providing sufficient information to facilitate explication of the ratings that the commissions make of candidates:

  • Revising term and timing. The five-year term for judges seems too short, challenging the appointment mechanism too frequently and reducing judges’ sense of independence from what inevitably is a political process. In addition, appointment of all high-level judges at the same time appears to challenge the feasibility and efficiency of any selection process.
  • Re-constituting the commissions. The size and composition of the commissions charged with appointing judges are unwieldy and no longer consistent with the purpose of broad representation. Reform also seems essential and inevitable.
  • Setting criteria and rationales. There seems to be consensus that qualifications for serving in the judiciary need to be better known to attract appropriate applicants in feasible numbers, qualifications which might reflect higher expectations for experience and professionalism. The commissions also should seek and use background checks by staff or independent law enforcement officials, as well as use public comment and interviews more effectively.

The Delegation acknowledges that reform efforts should encompass additional issues and considerations, as well as the participation of representatives of all elements of Guatemalan society. “Such an undertaking may well lead to significant revision of the Constitution and the organs of government,” the report states.

During its three-day visit, the Delegation also met with the Country Representative in Guatemala of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commissioner of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, the Regional Director of the International Commission of Jurists – Guatemala, the President and Members of the Executive Board of the Collegium of Lawyers of Guatemala, the President of the Foundation for the Development of Guatemala, and the Dean of the San Carlos University (Universidad de San Carlos).

The delegation consisted of Hunter T. Carter (United States), partner at Arent Fox, member of the Vance Center Committee, and former chair of the City Bar Inter-American Affairs Committee; Francisco Cox (Chile), partner at Balmaceda & Cox; Robert Cusumano (United States), Executive Director of the Legal Horizons Foundation, former general counsel of ACE Group of Insurance Companies, and member of the Vance Center Committee; Mirna Goransky (Argentina), Deputy General Prosecutor of the Office of the National Attorney General in Argentina (on leave) and Vance Center consultant for the Delegation; Clara Elena Reales, (Colombia), Chief Legal Officer of the Colombian Association of Pension and Severance Funds Administrators; Carlos Rosenkrantz, (Argentina), partner at Bouzat, Rosenkrant & Cia and president of the Universidad de San Andres; and José Ugaz (Perú), partner at Benites, Forno & Ugaz. Carter, Cusumano and Ugaz were also in the 2013 delegation.

The report may be read here: http://bit.ly/1yKQwwz

For the Spanish version of the report, click here: http://bit.ly/1s7Gm3W


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Earlier today, New York City Bar President Debra L. Raskin testified before New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s hearing on Access to Civil Legal Services. Ms. Raskin’s testimony, as submitted, follows:

I appreciate the opportunity to testify today on behalf of the New York City Bar Association at this annual hearing to address access to justice for New Yorkers who cannot afford an attorney for their crucial civil legal services needs.  Chief Judge Lippman, we applaud your commitment and that of Helaine Barnett and the Task Force.  You all have made New York a leader in increasing access to justice.  However, as we all know, the justice gap still is far too wide, and calls for more resources, more commitment and more innovative approaches.

The New York City Bar has long been committed to providing access to justice, which we address both through policy initiatives and providing direct legal assistance.  We continue to advocate for an adequate funding of the federal Legal Services Corporation and have supported each of the increases in legal services funding presented in recent State Judiciary budgets.  In addition to our legal and policy work in this area, our public service affiliate, the City Bar Fund, has two divisions providing direct legal assistance.  Our City Bar Justice Center leverages the efforts and resources of the City’s legal community to increase access to justice for low-income individuals in New York City.  And our Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice stimulates and coordinates pro bono efforts in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere in the world.

Through Chief Judge Lippman’s and Chief Administrative Judge Prudenti’s outstanding leadership, the Judiciary Budget now includes $55 million for civil legal services, in addition to $15 million in IOLA replacement funds.  We urge that you stay the course toward the original goal of a $100 million increase in annual civil legal services funding.  This is a crucial element of any effort to provide additional legal assistance to those who cannot afford it.  The fact that over two million people continue to enter New York courthouses every year to fend for themselves without counsel is testimony to how much more we need to do.

Of course, adding this funding is a necessary but not sufficient condition.  As we ask more of the State’s taxpayers, so we must ask more of the legal profession, and must consider and implement new ideas to provide assistance.

The City Bar understands it must provide the opportunities, training and guidance to support lawyers who want to do pro bono work.  At the City Bar Justice Center, we engage volunteer lawyers in targeting particular needs within our community.  We have a broad array of programs through which volunteers can assist those in need, from the homeless to cancer survivors, from immigrant women and children who have been trafficked or abused to persons who risk losing their homes through foreclosure.  Our veterans project continues to assist those who served this country in their fight to obtain the benefits they are rightly due.  And our Legal Hotline not only is the largest free general civil legal services hotline in New York City, but also now provides brief legal services in addition to responding to callers’ questions.

The additional funding provided to the City Bar Justice Center in the last round of funding will enable the Center to increase the Legal Hotline’s capacity for brief services, such as creating court papers for pro se litigants, and will enable us to expand our new LGBT Advocacy project, to provide direct legal services to LGBT New Yorkers who cannot afford an attorney.

We know the rest of the organized bar is committed to undertaking pro bono activities.  However, our combined commitment has not generated a sufficient amount of pro bono hours and support to come close to meeting the need.  Just to consider one major area of need, homelessness is at record levels, with approximately 56,000 people sleeping each night in the City’s shelter system.  More than 12,000 families with children are living in homeless shelters and the average stay is over 14 months.  The Justice Center’s homeless program, and other legal services efforts,  meets part of the need but this remains a critically underserved population.

The City Bar has supported efforts, including those recommended by the Task Force, to increase pro bono activity.  We supported the rule that established a 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the New York Bar.  As this rule first affects the law school class of 2014, it has now been built into the educational fabric. Similarly, law schools are adopting the Pro Bono Scholars Program, which gives interested 3L’s the opportunity to take the bar exam in February of their senior year so long as they devote their last semester of law school to providing pro bono service for the poor through an approved externship program.  This year the City Bar Justice Center looks forward to hosting two Pro Bono Scholars and we believe this program has great promise for providing needed services to low income New Yorkers while giving 3Ls practical experience in a supervised setting.

While these initiatives are designed for incoming lawyers, all of us have the responsibility as officers of the court and as members of a privileged profession to give back.  The City Bar continues to support the requirement that lawyers report their pro bono activities and donations to legal services organization as a means both to encourage more activity and assemble data with which to better analyze pro bono efforts around the State.

We also applaud the Task Force’s initiative to find appropriate ways in which nonlawyers can assist individuals who otherwise would not have counsel.  In fact, we recommended such an approach in a report we issued nearly 20 years ago, and in a report issued in 2013 by our Committee on Professional Responsibility.  We greatly appreciate the productive work of the committee co-chaired by Fern Schair and Roger Maldonado in getting this initiative under way.

We also believe part of the push to both stimulate funding – including private contributions – and encourage pro bono participation is to demonstrate that providing legal services to the poor is cost-effective.  The Task Force has conducted studies showing that a dollar spent on providing legal services generates substantially more in benefits.  The City Bar’s Immigration and Nationality Law Committee recently asked the economic consulting firm NERA to study the costs and benefits of providing free legal counsel to immigrants facing detention and deportation and found that the amount spent would be offset by savings in detention, foster care, case processing and transportation outlays alone, even without quantifying other likely fiscal, social and administrative benefits.  We believe more such studies would strengthen the argument that legal services funding is an investment in our society, and one that is quantifiably productive.

One significant hurdle to increasing pro bono participation is the concern of a significant number of lawyers that they lack the training and support to provide these services.  In addition, sometimes a lawyer who has the spirit but lacks the knowledge and support to competently perform pro bono falls short of providing the assistance the client needed.  We need to find ways to make pro bono more satisfying to the lawyers and more effective for the client.  I have appointed a group within the City Bar to examine this topic and make recommendations, which I expect within the next year.

Let me conclude by again thanking you and the Task Force for your leadership and inspiration, which already has resulted in many thousands more individuals receiving legal assistance.  We at the City Bar look forward to continuing to work with you in our joint pursuit of truly increasing access to justice in New York.


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The New York City Bar Association has evaluated candidates recommended by the New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination for appointment as Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, to fill the vacancy created by the expiration of Judge Graffeo’s term.  The Association uses a three-tiered rating system to rate the candidates: exceptionally well qualified, well qualified and not well qualified.  The following are our ratings of the seven candidates:

  • Daniel S. Alter – Well Qualified
  • Preeta D. Bansal – Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • Hon. Eugene M. Fahey – Well Qualified
  • Hon. Victoria A. Graffeo – Exceptionally Well Qualified
  • Hon. Leslie E. Stein – Well Qualified
  • Maria T. Vullo – Well Qualified
  • Rowan D. Wilson – Well Qualified

The Association’s Executive Committee extensively reviewed the background and qualifications of the candidates.  Representatives of the Association’s Executive, Judiciary and State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction Committees interviewed each candidate and, for all candidates, reviewed their writings, investigated their background, and interviewed judges and lawyers familiar with the candidates.  After considering the candidate’s intellectual ability, knowledge of the law, integrity, impartiality, judicial demeanor and temperament, the full Executive Committee then considered whether to rate each candidate “well qualified,” “not well qualified” or “exceptionally well qualified.”

This three-tiered rating was adopted by the Executive Committee in May 2007.  The criteria for each rating are as follows:

“Well Qualified”:  Consistent with the term “well qualified” as it is set forth in describing the Commission’s mandate in Judiciary Law Section 63(1) and in Article 6, Section 2 of the Constitution: candidates “who by their character, temperament, professional aptitude and experience are well qualified to hold such judicial office.”

“Not Well Qualified”:  Candidates who may be competent lawyers or judges but, in the judgment of the Executive Committee, do not meet the requisite standard for “Well Qualified” in one or more of the constitutional and statutory criteria of “character, temperament, professional aptitude and experience.”

“Exceptionally Well Qualified”:  Candidates who are exceptional to the degree that they are superior to others who are “well qualified.”  This rating should be given as an exception and not the norm.

Note: To ensure the integrity of the ratings process, the City Bar cannot comment beyond what is provided above.

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At the New York City Bar Association, we consider one of our strengths to be the close collaboration between our committees, which have long worked to reform the law and improve public policy, and the City Bar Justice Center, which provides pro bono legal services to those who can’t afford a lawyer.

This symbiotic relationship is only natural, because the Justice Center—which grew out of the City Bar’s Robert B. McKay Community Outreach Law Program —has its roots in the work of certain of our committees in the early 80s. One of them, the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee, co-sponsored day-long clinics where volunteer lawyers helped Haitians with asylum claims. After a 1986 law offered undocumented immigrants a one-year amnesty to apply for residency, the Committee trained volunteer lawyers to staff clinics for applicants at neighborhood associations and churches.

While the Justice Center’s immigration projects have worked closely with the Immigration Committee over the years, the Justice Center’s leadership has been integrally involved in policy as well. Suzanne Tomatore, who directs the Justice Center’s Immigrant Women & Children Project, is on the steering committee of the Freedom Network, a national anti-human trafficking organization. Jennifer Kim, who directs the Justice Center’s Refugee Assistance Project, is a member of Judge Robert A. Katzmann’s Study Group on Immigrant Representation, as is Justice Center Executive Director Lynn Kelly.

If there has been a common thread in all of the City Bar’s immigration work over the years, it is with respect to the issue of legal representation for immigrant detainees, who have no right to an attorney even though they face consequences as serious as those affecting many criminal suspects who are entitled to counsel by law. In 2008, Lynn Kelly received an envelope containing a petition from 100 immigrant detainees decrying conditions at the Varick Street Federal Detention Facility in lower Manhattan. Teaming up with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and The Legal Aid Society, the Justice Center launched the NYC Know Your Rights Project, sending volunteer attorneys into the facility to interview detainees. The Justice Center and its volunteers found that 39% of the detainees had possible meritorious claims for relief from deportation, and volunteer lawyers won release for 21 detainees and cancellation of removal claims for 18 of them. In what was not an extraordinary coincidence, the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee released a report right around that time entitled “Report on the Right to Counsel for Detained Individuals in Removal Proceedings.” The Justice Center’s work on Varick was the subject of a front-page article in the New York Times.

Recently, the Committee, now chaired by Lenni Benson, has been extremely active in issuing reports and writing to government leaders on the issue of legal representation in immigration proceedings. On a national level, the Committee has worked with members of both Houses of Congress to include a right to counsel in any immigration law reform efforts.  On the local level, earlier this year, the Committee testified before the New York City Council in support of the City’s allocation of $4.9 million to fund the nation’s first public defender system for detained immigrants.

The Committee’s arguments are bolstered by research it requested last spring, through WilmerHale, from NERA Economic Consulting, an independent consulting firm. The NERA report found that a national immigration federal public defender system would essentially pay for itself through cost savings in detention, foster care, and transportation. In a June 16th editorial headlined “Innocents at the Border: Immigrant Children Need Safety, Shelter and Lawyers,” the New York Times wrote, “The Dickensian absurdity often seen in immigration courts — little children propped up before judges and government lawyers with no idea of what is going on — must not be tolerated. Concerns about the cost of providing lawyers should by eased by a recent study from the New York City Bar Association showing that free legal representation for indigent migrants pays for itself, mainly by reducing the costs of unnecessary detention.”

Today the urgent immigration topic before the nation is what to do about the “Border Kids,” many of them fleeing the epidemic of crime and gang violence sweeping Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Fortunately, our Immigration and Nationality Law Committee has had an active subcommittee working on immigrant youth issues with the Family Law and Family Courts Committee and the Children and the Law Committee. In fact, ten members of the immigration committee work in the area of immigrant child protection. The subcommittee has participated in research on family court practices and conducted several citywide trainings to build skills and resources in the immigration and family law bars. Last year, the committee held five trainings inside the family courts, offering free CLE credits to attorneys interested in learning about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which affords legal status to children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent.

In late July, urgent concerns arose with respect to the fast-track “surge docket” strategy the federal government is implementing that provides only perfunctory hearings into detainee’s claims that returning home means a return to the grave danger they just fled. The Committee wrote to Congress to support, among other things, appropriations for appointing counsel for children in removal proceedings, and to urge access to full hearings for these children as provided by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. The Committee cited a recent study showing that nearly half of the children in removal proceedings are unrepresented, and that only one in ten unrepresented kids won relief from removal compared to 47 percent who had counsel. In a Huffington Post op-ed on July 31st, the Committee also took its message to the public, a significant majority of which, a recent poll shows, supports legal representation for immigrants facing deportation.

Last month, Lenni Benson and I wrote to President Obama about reported denials of due process and access to counsel in the detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, urging the Administration “to take immediate action to ensure that these families, many of whom have fled persecution and extreme violence in their home countries, are afforded fundamentally fair hearings that comply with U.S. and international law, rather than being detained and processed rapidly for deportation without the fair procedures necessary to determine whether they are entitled to protection in the United States.”

With thousands of border kids being transferred to New York, our Immigration Committee will continue to provide trainings and in October, Lenni Benson will speak to the Office of Court Administration about systemic issues and possible reforms in the family courts.  Further, the Justice Center will train pro bono attorneys to handle cases, will take on 10 cases in-house, and will provide technical assistance to pro bono attorneys who email questions to cbjcchildrendocket@nycbar.org. And the Justice Center will work with the Immigration Committee on a report on the constitutional right to counsel for unaccompanied, indigent, immigrant children facing removal.

As the border kids issue plays out, and as the next immigration issue inevitably presents itself next month, next year, or next decade, I know that our Immigration and Nationality Law Committee and City Bar Justice Center, their ideas informed and their credibility strengthened by their work on the ground, will continue their extraordinary work as both thought leaders and action leaders for increasing access to immigration justice.

Debra L. Raskin is President of the New York City Bar Association


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In a letter to the director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance,  the New York City Bar Association applauds the Commission’s initiative to improve the quality and usefulness of public company disclosure, and proposes, separate and apart from existing disclosure requirements, “a rule to cut through the rules.”

Prepared by the City Bar’s Committee on Financial Reporting, the letter was prompted by an initiative announced by the SEC to address the quality of business disclosure and the related problem of “disclosure overload.”  Following speeches by SEC Chair Mary Jo White and SEC Corporation Finance Director Keith Higgins, the Committee’s letter states, “We believe both were excellent contributions to the objective of disclosure enhancement, and we write in response to help with the effort to make public company disclosure more effective.”  The letter also states, “We share in particular the concern expressed by Commission Chair White regarding ‘ever-increasing amounts of disclosure’ that can ‘make it difficult for an investor to wade through the volume of information she receives to ferret out the information that is most relevant.’”

The core problem, explains the letter, is that, while prescriptive rules certainly play an important role in disclosure, it can be difficult to mandate effective communication through rulemaking. “The natural managerial reaction to rulemaking, rather, is an effort to comply, which can result in an understandable but potentially counterproductive ‘compliance mindset’ that places technical conformity to the rules over effectiveness in communication.”

Financial Reporting Committee Chair Michael Young, who signed the letter, said the Committee’s objective is to encourage companies to write with the plain English understandability of Warren Buffett.  “The challenge is how to accomplish that through a rule,” he said.

The Committee’s letter proposes “a rule, separate and apart from existing disclosure requirements such as Item 303 (Management’s Discussion and Analysis), that encourages companies at the outset of their annual reports on Form 10-K or 20-F to effectively communicate their own plain English overview of what’s going on – much as a CEO might report to his or her board of directors.”

The proposed rule would state, in its entirety:

Provide an overview describing what happened at the company over the past year and your expectations and concerns about the year to come.

As the letter notes, such an approach would leave to the judgment of management those aspects of business activity worth reporting. However, states the Committee, “our experience suggests that some of the most effective communication of business information has been achieved where management judgment has been permitted to play a significant role.”

The Committee ultimately concludes that, in regard to business disclosure, “the most important information is best volunteered, up front, by management in a way that is both understandable and provides context. The challenge is to formulate a rule that seeks to accomplish that without inadvertently sending disclosure in the opposite direction.”

The letter can be read here: http://bit.ly/1lRawIh


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The New York City Bar Association has evaluated the candidates running in the September 9th Democratic Party primary elections for Civil Court in Kings County. The review was conducted by the Association’s Committee on the Judiciary.

The Committee uses two ratings: Approved and Not Approved. Candidates rated Approved have affirmatively demonstrated qualifications necessary for the performance of the duties of the position for which they are being considered.

Kings County

Civil Court, 2nd District

Rupert V. Barry Approved
Cenceria P. Edwards Approved

Civil Court, 6th District

Sharon Clarke Not approved by reason of the candidate’s failure to affirmatively demonstrate that she possesses the requisite qualifications for the court for which she is a candidate
Isiris Isela Isaac Approved
Diana J. Szochet Approved


Note: To ensure the thoroughness and integrity of the ratings process, the City Bar cannot comment beyond what is provided in this release.

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The New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics has issued an opinion (2014-03) stating that when a client has granted an attorney advance authorization to charge the client’s credit card for legal fees, but the client later disputes all or part of a particular bill, the attorney may not then charge the client’s credit card for the disputed portion of the bill.

It is now well established, notes the opinion, that attorneys are permitted under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct to accept payment by credit card, as long as they comply with various ethical requirements, including protecting confidential information, as required by Rule 1.6, and avoiding excessive legal fees and expenses, as required by Rule 1.5.

As the committee explains, Rule 1.15 contains various provisions designed to protect “client funds” and other “property,” making it clear that these protections arise from the lawyer’s role as the client’s “fiduciary.” Therefore, “a lawyer who has been entrusted with a client’s credit card information, along with authority to make charges against the credit card account, holds that information as the client’s fiduciary. As a general matter, charging the client’s credit card account after the client has disputed the fees violates this trust.”

Such a practice, states the opinion, is analogous to a lawyer taking possession of disputed funds being held in escrow for the client’s benefit, which is explicitly prohibited under Rule 1.15(b)(4). “If the lawyer is not permitted to withdraw disputed funds from escrow, it follows that the lawyer may not charge disputed amounts against a client’s credit card account, which is sensitive information belonging to the client that the lawyer holds in trust and which provides the lawyer with access to a client’s personal funds.”

Therefore, under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney may not charge a client’s credit card account for any disputed portion of a bill, even if the client has previously given advance authorization.

The opinion can be read here: http://bit.ly/1s5BGN1


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A post published today on the Huffington Post, by the chair of the City Bar’s Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, Lenni Benson, along with the two co-chairs of the Subcommittee on the Right to Counsel and Due Process for Migrants, Farrin R. Anello and Michael D. Cooper, addresses “the refugee crisis unfolding on our southern border.”

The piece argues that the crisis is not about disrespect for the law, or lack of enforcement, as some have suggested. “These children are not eluding authorities; they are seeking out authorities. They have come here not to evade U.S. law, but rather to embrace U.S. law and the protection it offers to victims of persecution, human trafficking and torture,” the post states.

The authors push back against what they see as an emerging consensus “between the White House and Congress to diminish the protection and due process rights of children.” Rather, under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and with evidence that nearly 60 percent of children entering the U.S. may have a valid claim to international protection, due process requires that we determine who among these kids has a valid right to stay here, they write.

That task is easier said than done: “[P]arsing through a child’s case is no easy task, especially when the child is a victim of serious crime, or sexual or domestic abuse, or has grown up surrounded by extreme violence, or suffers from shock or trauma.”

The authors propose that the best way to get to the bottom of each child’s case, and to resolve the overall crisis, would be to provide government-appointed counsel to these children. And the authors cite recent research from the economic consulting firm NERA that shows that “the savings to the Federal government from detention, foster-care and transportation outlays alone would pay for most if not all of the cost of providing lawyers.”

Read the full piece on the Huffington Post here.


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