Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 15.46 E. Removal Proceedings

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For the most part, removal proceedings are conducted in the same manner for juveniles as adults.  The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge has specifically instructed the immigration courts that, although the courts should act in the best interests of the child, this “does not negate the statute or the regulatory delegation of the Attorney General’s authority, and cannot provide a basis for proving relief not sanctioned by law.”[542] 


Instead, “acting in the best interest of the child” means that the IJ should take steps, as outlined by the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, to make the removal proceeding and the courtroom environment as hospitable as possible to noncitizen juvenile respondents, as well as witnesses.[543]  The Executive Office of Immigration Review has also established four “Legal Orientation Program” sites for unaccompanied juveniles in detention, the purpose of which is to individually counsel each juvenile on the removal process and provide information on how to obtain legal representation.[544]

[542] Memo 04/07, Creppy, Chief IJ, Guidelines for Immigration Court Cases Involving Unaccompanied Alien Children, EOIR (Sept. 16, 2004), posted on AILA InfoNet at Doc. No. 04100568.

[543] Id.

[544] Executive Office of Immigration Review, News Release, EOIR Adds 10 New Legal Orientation Program Sites – Initiates Sites for Children (Oct. 13, 2006).  Available at: (last visited April 17, 2007).