“The bipartisan Immigration Court Efficiency and Children’s Court Act of 2023 would help more unaccompanied children by providing specialized children’s courts with trained judges, court personnel, and counsel, which will promote fairness and a more orderly and efficient process,” Perry said.
Perry spoke at a press conference sponsored by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit dedicated to providing legal counsel to immigrant children fleeing violence, abuse and neglect.
Perry, who serves on KIND’s National Pro Bono Strategic Advisory Group, spoke passionately about his first case representing an undocumented minor, a young girl fleeing violence and persecution in Honduras, after which he realized just how unfair the current system is for children.
“There is no meaningful way for an unrepresented minor to navigate the United States’ Byzantine immigration system, especially for someone who does not speak English,” Perry said.
According to KIND, the proposed bipartisan bill would establish a Children’s Court within the Executive Office for Immigration Review focused on the adjudication of unaccompanied children’s removal proceedings.
“The creation of the Children’s Court would ensure a more child-friendly environment in which unaccompanied children are more likely to receive due process, and relieve strain on the immigration court system nationwide,” said KIND in a statement. “The time is long overdue for Congress to pass legislation ensuring that all unaccompanied children have attorneys.”
“As I think back to all the clients I have represented through KIND, I am always struck by their faith in the United States as a land of hope and dreams, a place of fundamental fairness,” Perry said. “I am grateful that I can play a role in upholding the foundational values of this country and give my clients the chance to access the protection offered under U.S. law.”
Reed Smith provides its lawyers up to 140 hours of billable-hour credit each year for pro bono work, which the firm devotes some 85,000 hours to annually at a market value of more than $50 million.