Jun 19, 2014 9:21 PM by Lauren Reimer

Group of lawyers head to Nogales, hoping to offer children legal service

NOGALES - A group of lawyers out of Phoenix made the trip to Nogales on Thursday, they wanted to see for themselves the Border Patrol facility where hundreds of Central American children are being detained.

They say illegal border crossers have no constitutional rights for a government appointed attorney, but they do have the right to find their own.

"We want to make sure that children are being treated and are being provided with the basic information about what their rights are," said Immigration Attorney Alma Montez de Oca.

She and the others want to offer their services for free.

"We're talking about migrant children who are unaccompanied who have no understanding of the American legal process, and how it affects them in their future case here," said Ruben Reyes, another Immigration Attorney.

But desire to help wasn't enough; the group was turned away at the gate.

They say they submitted their information, including driver's license, social security number, and date of birth, on Monday, far more than the 24 to 72 hours requested. But to their frustration, the answer was no.

"It's the fact that we don't know we're not involved, we haven't engaged and at this point we feel left out of the situation," said Reyes.

They say they've visited far more secure federal facilities before and have gotten clearance. Now they're asking Border Patrol to reconsider.

"I think ultimately what we at least wanted today was to speak to someone, a supervisor," said de Oca.

The group will continue to push for access. In the meantime, more and more attorneys have been showing interest in joining in on the mission.


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