(Reuters) - Attorneys for the Los Angeles Unified School District will be allowed to assist students who are facing possible deportation under a new program for unaccompanied minors approved on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The lawyers can now voluntarily help one student at a time for about one to three hours a week, though they will have to make up any work time lost, the paper said. Ten attorneys have shown interest so far.
The country's second largest school system and the LA Board of Education, which approved the plan, could not be immediately reached for comment.
A report filed to the board by the district in support of the project said that some 3,000 unaccompanied minors detained by immigration officials last year were released to sponsors in Los Angeles County and many enrolled in district schools.
The report pointed to research that found detained minors who received legal representation were roughly five times more likely to be permitted to stay than be deported.
"There are not enough attorneys representing unaccompanied youth in deportation proceedings, and thousands of children who might otherwise qualify for legal residency are being taken out of their schools in the United States and sent back to the violence and persecution they fled," the report said.
Leading Californian Democrats have called for extra funding to pay lawyers to represent unaccompanied minors who have flooded into the country from Central America.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Louise Ireland)