Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:13 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:13:54 GMT
Newark's police department will undergo independent monitoring after a three-year federal investigation released Tuesday found what it called "a pattern of unconstitutional policing" that included excessive use...More >>
Newark police engaged in the excessive use of force, routinely stopped people on the street for no legitimate reason and regularly stole property from civilians, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded in a report...More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:06:40 GMT
After a bruising nine-week runoff campaign, Georgia Republicans will finally have their Senate nominee who will compete against Democrat Michelle Nunn for a seat the GOP can ill afford to lose as the party looks to...More >>
Georgia Republicans have only a few more hours before they have a Senate nominee in a race that will help decide which party controls the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama's administration.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:06:35 GMT
Attorneys for the state of Arizona have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow an execution planned for Wednesday to proceed, saying Joseph Rudolph Wood can't establish he has a First Amendment right to the...More >>
Attorneys for the state of Arizona have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow an execution planned for Wednesday to proceed, saying Joseph Rudolph Wood can't establish he has a First Amendment right to the details he...More >>
SEATTLE (AP) - A coalition of immigrant rights advocacy groups sued the federal government Wednesday, saying the vast majority of minors in deportation proceedings lack legal representation.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on behalf of eight plaintiffs who range in age from 10 to 17.
The plaintiffs came to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. Several of them were fleeing violence in their countries - the same reason behind a surge of tens of thousands of minors coming to the southern border recently, the lawsuit said.
That crisis prompted federal officials to say Wednesday that deportation cases involving unaccompanied child immigrants and parents traveling with children would be moved to the top of immigration court dockets.
Under federal law, the government is not required to provide attorneys for immigrants of any age facing deportation. Immigrants can hire private attorneys or seek free legal representation.
Thousands of minors undergo deportation proceedings every year, and most lack legal representation, the lawsuit says. The groups argue this practice violates the Constitution, saying the minors are entitled to due process under the Fifth Amendment.
"It is simply unacceptable that children are forced to stand alone before an immigration judge, pitted against trained attorneys from the federal government," said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, one of the groups suing.
The lawsuit names Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, among other federal officials.
A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, declined to comment. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to an email about the case.
The lawsuit is seeking to require the government to provide minors with legal representation. It's also seeking class-action certification.
The groups argue withholding attorneys from minors violates provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act that requiring a "full and fair hearing" before an immigration judge.
It wasn't immediately known how much it would cost to have government-provided attorneys represent minors in immigration court. Recently the Obama Administration began a $2 million program through AmeriCorps to have 100 attorneys and paralegals working on cases with minors.
The minors in the lawsuit are living in California and Washington but are scheduled for deportation hearings in August and September.
Attorney Kristen Jackson of Public Counsel, a legal-aid firm and one of the groups that filed suit, said children in desperate need of lawyers for deportation cases contact her office every day.
"Pro bono efforts have been valiant, but they will never fully meet the increasing and complex needs these children present," Jackson said. "The time has come for our government to recognize our Constitution's promise of fairness and its duty to give these children a real voice in court."
According to the lawsuit, five of the minors fled El Salvador and Guatemala because of gang violence. Three of them saw their father murdered because he ran a rehabilitation center for gang members.
The other groups suing the government are the American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council and K&L Gates LLP. They filed the lawsuit in Seattle because the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is based there and has worked on several cases involving minors. The legal aid group provides guidance at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:26 AM EDT2014-07-22 10:26:05 GMT
On Monday, July 21 at approximately 12:50 p.m., the Opelika Police Department received a call of a gunshot victim in the 500 block of Edmon Avenue. More >>
On Monday, July 21 at approximately 12:50 p.m., the Opelika Police Department received a call of a gunshot victim in the 500 block of Edmon Avenue. Upon arrival, they located a juvenile male suffering from a gunshot wound.More >>
Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:32:06 GMT
Families in Alabama and Georgia are gearing up to go back to school and getting ready for the annual tax-free weekend, which gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers More >>
Families in Alabama and Georgia are gearing up to go back to school and getting ready for the annual tax-free weekend, which gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers and clothing free of state sales tax.More >>