It's been claimed that the Orange County Probation Department has routinely referred alleged immigrant juvenile offenders to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Close to half of these claimed offenders were only charged with non-violent or non-serious matters. Many of these immigrant youths did not have any criminal history.
The authors of one report claim that Orange County Probation officials would "proactively investigate the immigration status of youths" and refer almost all of them to ICE officials to assist in any investigation concerning these youth. There are further accusations that confidential information was shared with ICE without the proper forms being filled out. And many of these youths were tried in immigration court without representation from an attorney.
It is extremely important for family members of immigrant juveniles accused of crimes to contact an experienced immigration attorney at their earliest possible convenience. These attorneys can make certain that any hearing is fair, that the side of the immigrant accused is fully represented and his or her story is told, and that all evidence presented at such hearings is reliable and relevant to the matter at hand.
Especially when we are speaking about children under the age of 18, there needs to be assurances that their rights are met. Juvenile immigrants are placed at a disadvantage to begin with as these youth may not understand how the immigration system works, and they may not understand that they do have the right to have an attorney present when a hearing takes place.
Source: Think Progress, "California Routinely Sent Detained Youths For Possible Deportation," Esther You-Hsi Lee, Dec. 9, 2013