Immigration Courts to Focus on Detainees, Not Kids’ Cases

2/2/2017 Associated Press

by Beth Cortez-Neavel


U.S. immigration courts are making a change to focus on deportation hearings for immigrants jailed by the federal government, giving less urgency to cases of children and families who were stopped on the U.S.-Mexico border and released.

Chief Immigration Judge MaryBeth Keller said in a memo Tuesday that the top priority for immigration judges will be scheduling quick hearings for anyone who is detained. That might potentially free up space in an immigrant jail system that is already well beyond capacity, immigration lawyers said.

While immigrants in jail have always been a priority, the Obama administration also had judges focus on children and families stopped on the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to deter more people from coming.

The move comes as President Donald Trump has announced plans to ramp up immigration enforcement and lock up more immigrants. By making the change in the courts, the government will be able to focus more on deporting jailed immigrants to free up room in the detention system.

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