Judge grants group of unaccompanied migrant children legal counsel

Anti-amnesty protesters gather outside the Mexican Consulate in Tucson on Friday.

Judge grants group of unaccompanied migrant children legal counsel

By Cory Marshall. CREATED Jul 18, 2014

TUCSON( KGUN9-TV) - Civil rights activists are calling it a game changer. Friday, in California, a federal district court judge ruled a small group of Salvadoran children, currently detained in the Nogales border patrol facility, will be granted access to legal counsel. According to the official court order, about 25 children will meet with immigration attorneys -- a sample group of sorts.

Under the ruling, the federal government is required to provide legal counsel to the children by July 30.

The decision comes after civil rights activists and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit. According to an ACLU press release, the lawsuit was a result of  "[attorneys] repeatedly denied permission to meet with the children at newly opened federal detention facilities."

"In every step that we make I think there is always the hopefulness that we will be able to move forward on different levels that we will have a more unified representation for all the children in custody," Juanita Molina of the Border Action Network said.

"For myself personally, on the ground, I have seen so many children who have been so severely hurt and, you know, would absolutely qualify for amnesty. I'm concerned that these children will not have that same ability," Molina added.

At the same time, anti-amnesty protesters gathered outside the Mexican Consulate in Tucson.

"It's not a racial issue. It's an economic issue," a protester said over a megaphone.

The group, slinging signs, is upset over the recent surge of unaccompanied migrant children from Central American crossing into the United States.

"You've got these kids living in barracks in our military facilities and we have vets sleeping on the street," Protester Mike Schenk told 9OYS.

"It's the U.S. Constitution. What rights does an illegal have?" Schenk continued.