Two U.S. immigration judges recently sent to the Mexico border to process asylum requests from migrant women and children are being recalled as they have so few cases to hear, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The dearth of cases at two Texas facilities where the judges are based can be traced to a sharp drop in illegal border crossings by women and children since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.
Eight immigration judges were reassigned from their regular courts to detention centers at the border beginning on March 20 as part of Trump’s executive order to curb illegal immigration.
Six of the judges have had full dockets, handling dozens of cases per week. But the two at detention centers housing women and children in Dilley and Karnes County, Texas had so few cases their presence was deemed a waste of resources by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to one of the sources.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The number of parents and children apprehended at the U.S. Mexico border in March dropped to just over 1,000, a 93 percent fall from December, the Department of Homeland Security reported last week.