As of Tuesday, July 5, 2016
SEATTLE A federal court yesterday granted class-action status to a lawsuit alleging thousands of illegal immigrant children have been denied due process in deportation hearings.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleges the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services violated the Constitution’s 5th Amendment due process clause.
The suit stems from what plaintiff’s argue is the government’s failure to provide children in immigration court with lawyers during their deportation hearings.
It covers children under 18 who are in immigration proceedings in the 9th Circuit on or after June 24, 2016, lack counsel, unable to afford legal representation and potentially eligible for asylum or citizenship.
It follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that blocked President Barack Obama’s order to allow more than 4 million illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S.
“The movement for justice will not stop until every American can live with dignity, without fear of being separated from their families,” Grandview native Lorena Gonzalez said in a blog entry.
She is Seattle’s first Latina City Council member.
“I am the daughter of a mother who became a U.S. citizen in 1996 and a father who adjusted his status and became a legal permanent resident,” she said.
The ruling received praise from immigrant advocates.
“The government will not be able to simply delay the case in hoping that a few individual cases may resolve themselves,” Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Legal Director Matt Adams said.