April 03, 2020 Practice Points

Tips for Advocating for Immigrant Clients During COVID-19

A few ideas to assist you while advocating in this crisis.

By Cathy Krebs

We are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it relates to law and litigation. Find more resources and articles on our COVID-19 portal. For the duration of the crisis, all coronavirus-related articles are outside the Section of Litigation paywall and available to all readers.

Providing legal representation to immigrant children in normal times is a challenge, and that work is even more challenging in the midst of a pandemic. Here are some tips to assist you in advocating for your client during COVID-19.

  • If your client is detained, it is important to advocate for his or her immediate release from detention as facilities are particularly dangerous during a pandemic. There are resources below that include sample motions and information on the dangers of COVID-19 in a detention facility that can assist in arguments to shorten detention and reunify unaccompanied immigrant youth with their families.
  • Argue for a postponement of all court appearances and hearings for detained, unaccompanied children during the pandemic. Immigration court proceedings are still proceeding unlike the majority of other court proceedings in the United States, which are being postponed or held virtually. It is not safe to have children, families, lawyers, and court personnel still gathering in-person for hearings.
  • If court proceedings cannot be postponed, argue for telephonic appearance for counsel and waiver of appearance for the child.

Resources:

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Cathy Krebs is the director of the Children's Rights Litigation Committee.


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