The Ninth Circuit has dismissed a class action lawsuit brought by unaccompanied minors seeking appointed counsel to represent them in their immigration proceedings. The court determined that right-to-counsel claims can only be brought through the petition for review process - which follows the administrative immigration proceeding - and not through a district court action. The court acknowledged the difficulty of expecting an unrepresented child to assert a right to counsel, but determined that the relevant jurisdictional statutes constrained their authority. The court clearly expressed an expectation that a right to counsel claim will be brought through a petition for review, and called on Congress and the Executive to resolve this problem through the legislative process instead of waiting for judicial decision.
The full text of J.E. F.M. v. Lynch can be found here: