ACLU Sues Feds: No Deportations Until Illegals Get Lawyers

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and various groups representing illegal immigrants sued the federal government to stop the deportations of several illegal immigrant juveniles until they receive lawyers.

The lawsuit, J.E.F.M. v. Holder, was filed Thursday evening in Seattle, and it accuses the Obama administration of violating the "Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and the Immigration and Nationality Act's provisions requiring a 'full and fair hearing' before an immigration judge."

The ACLU, the American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and the K&L Gates law firm asked the federal court "to immediately block the government from pursuing deportation proceedings" of at least seven illegal immigrant juveniles.

Last month, the same groups sued the Obama administration "on behalf of thousands of children" to demand representation for illegal immigrant juveniles. At least seven of those juveniles are now up for deportation.

"These children face an imminent threat of being deported, potentially to their death," Ahilan Arulanantham, a senior ACLU lawyer, said in a statement. "To force them to defend themselves against a trained prosecutor, with their lives literally on the line, violates due process and runs counter to everything our country stands for."

Beth Werlin, the deputy legal director of the American Immigration Council, said many children may be "eligible to remain in the United States, but may be ordered deported simply because they do not understand our complex immigration laws and how to prove their claims."

Matt Adams, the legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said illegal immigrant juveniles "need legal representation in order to ensure that their legal rights to a full and fair hearing are not violated."

The Obama administration has pushed for millions to fund more lawyers for illegal immigrants, and House House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) went as far to say that there cannot be "deportation without representation."


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