Maryland readers may be interested to learn that the Justice Department has announced that it will send temporary immigration judges to six detention centers in order to enact the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Four judges will be sent to Texas, one to Louisiana and one to New Mexico.
In January, President Trump signed an executive order saying that judges should be immediately assigned to immigration detention centers to begin sorting through a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases. Of those cases, more than 20,000 involve people being held in detention. The current fiscal budget provides funding for 374 judges, but there are only around 300 judges in place. Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 calls for 449 immigration judges. Fifty judges are now in the process of being hired.
Five of the six detention centers receiving temporary judges have no judges on site. Until now, hearings have been conducted via video connection. Immigration experts say that due process concerns demand that judges be physically present in court rooms and not depend on video conferencing from remote locations. For example, judges may miss important human interactions, such as emotional cues, when communicating via video. They also may mute the voice of the detainee in order to listen to the interpreter.
Individuals facing illegal immigration hearings could help their situation by retaining an immigration attorney as soon as possible. An immigration attorney could help navigate the complex rule changes taking place under the Trump administration and help file for the appropriate relief.
Source: US News, “Immigration Judges to Be Sent to Border Detention Centers”, Eliot Spagat, March 17, 2017