For several years I have been concerned about various aspects of the immigration law system, but most particularly, the lack of legal defense for undocumented children in immigration court.
Unaccompanied children, who arrive illegally in the United States and are detained by immigration agents, must appear in court for a judge to decide whether or not they will be deported. The problem is that the law does not stipulate that these children must be provided legal representation. There is no way a 6-year-old child, for example, can represent himself in court.
But there is a non-profit organization that helps these helpless children. It's called KIND (Kids in Need of Legal Defense). And I have helped them for several years, representing several children for free.
This year, I was able to get Brian Alvarez, a boy who traveled without his parents to the United States from El Salvador, but was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Texas when he was 12 years old, granted permanent residency. It was a 4-year process, but Brian now has U.S. residency and a great future in this country.
Today, NBC in Los Angeles did a report on Brian's case, in which they explain the problem faced by thousands of undocumented children, and I was interviewed about it.
I thank reporter John Cadiz Klemack for telling the story so well. The report is in English and can be viewed here: