ALICIA CALDWELL and AMY TAXIN – Associated Press reporting:
“The order to refocus the system’s priorities comes just days after Trump signed an executive order directing immigration agents to focus enforcement efforts on far more immigrants living in the country illegally, including anyone arrested on a criminal charge or with a criminal history.
A second order directed Homeland Security officials to detain immigrants caught crossing the border illegally and hold them until they can be deported or a judge rules on their fate.
“He’s going to keep everybody detained,” said Annaluisa Padilla, an immigration attorney in California. “There is nothing about speeding here or having people have due process in court.”
Trump’s call to detain more border crossers comes with a need for more jail space. The government has enough money to jail 34,000 people at any given time, though thousands more people have been held in recent months.
The government is looking for more jail beds, acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said Tuesday.
A message left for the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday was not immediately returned.
Padilla said she worries the change means unaccompanied children with strong cases might get stuck in the backlog.
Immigration attorney Meeth Soni said she believed immigration authorities want the court to move quicker on detention cases to free up more jail space.
“In anticipation of more increased detention, and those proceedings, they’re going to have to basically make that a priority for the court,” said Soni, an attorney at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles.”
Please send me a comment if you have noticed that the “Keller Memo” has affected your local U.S. Immigration Court.
Also, seems to me that attorneys for children and families can’t have it both ways. Ever since the beginning of the “rocket docket” they have been complaining about its adverse effect on recently arrived families and children. Finally, Chief Judge Keller (who was recently appointed and not involved in the former Attorney General’s ill-advised decision to institute “rocket dockets” back in 2014) has been able to eliminate the “rocket docket.” Barring very unusual circumstances, attorneys representing the “former priority cases” will just have to get in line with everyone else who has been waiting. While given the length of the wait in some Immigration Courts that’s certainly not ideal; but, it does seem fair under the circumstances.