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LA Unified board to considering helping fight off deportation

Vanessa Romo | January 12, 2015

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(Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement website)

(Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement website)

LA Unified doesn’t track how many undocumented students are enrolled in the district, but a new resolution could pave the way for providing legal aid to a small number of unaccompanied minors at their deportation proceedings.

The school board will vote tomorrow to approve a program called AYUDA – Advocating for Youth Unaccompanied in Deportation Actions. If passed upon request from the district’s legal department, the measure would authorize LA Unified attorneys to handle a limited number of deportation cases for unaccompanied minors residing within district boundaries, on a pro bono basis.

“Only some attorneys, those who want to, will be taking on these cases,” Monica Carazo, a district spokesperson told LA School Report.

District lawyers will have the chance to volunteer for the assignments, working an average of two to three hours per week on individual cases, she said.

“It’s going to be a small, manageable amount of time for each attorney, and it won’t interfere with their regular work load,” she added.

At most, the district will represent five to ten students, according to Carazo. Few, if any, of the district’s lawyers have a background in immigration law, so they’ll be getting extra assistance from local legal organizations.

Currently, there are more than 900,000 undocumented students who live in the United States and are under 18 years of age.

LA Unified is not the first agency to offer unaccompanied minors legal help. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors plans to set aside more than $2 million for legal aid for minors and families over the next two years. And Governor Jerry Brown, last year, introduced a bill aimed at allocating $3 million in legal aid for unaccompanied children.

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