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Children are forced to attend deportation hearings alone

Without a doubt, the state of immigration in this country has led to a great deal of fear and anxiety for non-U.S. citizens. At this point, it does not seem to matter whether an individual is in the country legally. People here in Florida and elsewhere who felt they were "safe" from deportation could find themselves appearing in court.

One group of people who many believe should never end up in immigration court is children, especially if they are forced to be there alone since they are not with their parents. Unfortunately, this happens more often than anyone would like. Separating a parent's immigration case from a child's may have benefits on paper, but what it does to children in reality often does not work as well as intended.

Some justify the fact that even toddlers and infants are required to defend themselves by pointing out that most of the children in this position are pre-teens or teens. Even so, requiring minors to navigate the immigration system on their own seems wrong. Even though organizations exist to assist these children, judges still require the children to answer questions that they may not have the capacity or information to answer.

In some cases, parents make the decision to leave their children to navigate the system separately in an attempt to increase the child's ability to remain in the country. Even so, the confusion, anxiety and fear the children go through often makes it heart wrenching for everyone involved. If a Florida resident has a family member under the age of majority who faces deportation without his or her parents, obtaining representation could be crucial.

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