Hundreds of lawyers raise hands to help unaccompanied immigrant children, but training needed

IndustriesAssociated Press

Most of the nearly 60,000 Central American children who have arrived on the border in the last year still don't have lawyers to represent them in immigration court, and advocates are training volunteer attorneys to help handle the massive caseload.

As the number of unaccompanied immigrant children has risen, the need for attorneys has surged and has been exacerbated by the immigration courts' decision to fast-track the children's cases.

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Efforts are underway across the country to train attorneys at private law firms on immigration law and how to work with the children, many of whom are fleeing violence.

Immigrant advocates say the efforts are helping but not as quickly as desired. There aren't enough experienced immigration lawyers at nonprofit organizations to take on the cases or to mentor volunteers.