A phalanx of immigration judges will be temporarily re-assigned to 12 U.S. cities to help speed deportations of illegal aliens, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed on Friday.
The full plan of the reassignments is still in the works, and the DOJ is looking for volunteers among immigration judges before going forward, according to Reuters.
Cities the DOJ want to staff up includes New York; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; San Francisco; Baltimore, Bloomington, Minnesota; El Paso, Texas; Harlingen, Texas; Imperial, California; Omaha, Nebraska, and Phoenix, Arizona, the news service says. This isn’t the first move to beef up immigration judge staff. Early in March the Trump administration also began sending judges to immigrant detention centers to speed up services.
The initial plan came on the heels of a Department of Homeland Security memo that requested the Trump administration allow federal immigration courts to use “expedited deportation proceedings” for any illegal immigrants living in the U.S. for two years or less. The process is currently limited to those only living in the U.S. for up to two weeks. According to data provided by the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, there are up to 18,013 pending immigration cases in the cities targeted by the DOJ plan.
The plan serves as another plank in President Trump’s promise to step up the deportations that ground to a halt during the last years of the Obama administration. It also marks a shift from Obama’s practice of deporting only illegals convicted of serious crimes — and even many of those were never deported. Critics of the plan claim that “reshuffling” the judges will only cause a backlog at the courts that lost one of their judges.