Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement announcing her cosponsorship of the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act, legislation that will require the government to provide legal counsel to unaccompanied children. This bill will address the surge of unaccompanied children coming to the United States after fleeing violence in their countries of origin, and ensure that they get legal representation while seeking asylum. Children who do not receive assistance from legal counsel are more likely to be deported and return to dangerous conditions.
“Unaccompanied children coming to the United States is part of a humanitarian crisis. These children are fleeing some of the most violent countries in the world to escape poverty, hunger, slavery and human trafficking. Kids as young as three or four years old have to face a judge on their own while seeking asylum. Imagine being that child, or your own child having to legally defend themselves without knowing the language, let alone the legal system. A large majority of kids who do not have legal representation are not successful in obtaining protection and risk deportation back to their home countries where many face death, sexual assault, or being forced into human bondage upon their return to their countries of origin. The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act will ensure that no child fleeing for his or her life has to face a judge alone and that they get their fair day in court with the help of an appointed counsel.
“Young kids belong in schools and playgrounds – not in detention centers or streets, running for their lives. Every child in this world deserves to feel safe. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and take this opportunity to give these brave young children a shot at a better life.”