The Ninth Circuit has limited the circumstances in which an Order to Show Cause served on a minor must also be served on a responsible adult. Previously, the court had held in Flores-Chavez v. Ashcroft that when immigration authorities detain a juvenile, and subsequently release the juvenile to a responsible adult, the Order to Show Cause must also be served on that adult. However, the court determined that the same rule does not apply when the minor was never detained, files for asylum, and is subsequently served with an Order to Show Cause.

“Nonetheless, the calculation differs here, and not just because Petitioner is slightly older than Flores-Chavez was. Petitioner himself set in motion the procedures leading to his hearing by filing an affirmative asylum application and by appearing before an asylum officer. These facts suggest that the risk of error in Petitioner’s situation is less than the risk of error in Flores-Chavez’ situation. More importantly, no adult ever entered an agreement with the government to assume responsibility for Petitioner. It is unclear with whom Petitioner lived at the time of his deportation hearing, including whether anyone at his residence was over the age of 18. It is equally unclear that notice to an adult living at his residence (if there was one) would have added any safeguards to the process, because we cannot know whether that adult would have been willing to take the kind of responsibility that was statutorily assigned in Flores-Chavez. Without researching the details of every minor’s situation, it is impossible to know whether a particular minor over the age of 14 resides with an adult and if so, whether serving the OSC on that adult will be any more effective in ensuring the minor’s attendance at the hearing than serving notice on the minor.” “Requiring the government to provide notice to a responsible adult living with a never-detained juvenile over the age of 14 assumes that there is such a person and that the person can be identified.” “Balancing all the factors, the burden on the government outweighs the interest of never-detained minors over the age of 14, at least those who have filed an affirmative request for relief.”

The full text of Cruz Pleitez v. Barr can be found here: