Human Rights First’s Ashley Kaper Talks Refugee Representation on Houston Radio Show
By Olivia Huzenis
Ashley Kaper, Managing Attorney at Human Rights First in Houston was recently interviewed by Tucker Wilson, the news director of Houston-based radio network KPFT, about the plight of refugee children fleeing violence in their home countries to seek safe haven in the United States. While this crisis has lost the attention of major media outlets since peak migration numbers last year, it remains a significant problem in the United States.
“U.S. border patrol apprehended more than 57,000 child migrants who crossed the border from June 2013 to June 2014…More than 50% of those children are still going through the legal process,” explained Wilson.
Once taken into custody by border control, these children are sent to shelters while officials search for relatives they might have in the United States who can house them until they must appear in immigration court. Navigating this process, especially without the help of an attorney, can be especially daunting for children that have already fled trauma at home.
First and foremost, “children need legal assistance,” insists Kaper. “There’s no right to an attorney in immigration proceedings. It’s a civil matter.” As a result, 2/3 of refugee children go unrepresented in immigration court, left to articulate themselves without any technical support from an attorney.
“I am a firm believer, as is Human Rights First, that all people…especially children should be afforded a government-appointed attorney,” adds Kaper.
To listen to the full interview with Kaper and learn more about the asylum process and the challenges that refugee children face, listen here: