Immigration Law

Advocates: DOJ Claims in Child Migrant Case ‘Fantasy’

"The Obama Administration went into federal court in Seattle this month and made two arguments — sometimes contradictory — against a lawsuit challenging its decision to rush thousands of child migrants from Central America into deportation proceedings last summer without first providing legal counsel.  The court transcript released this week shows Justice Department attorneys blamed Congress for not providing more money for defense counsel.  But then they went on to paint a remarkably rosy picture of what the children face in the immigration courts.  Veteran immigration defense attorneys reacted with anger and surprise when shown the government claims.  Justice gave the judge outdated statistics in discussing the total number of removal orders already issued.  And altogether, the record poses real credibility problems for President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, who promised fair treatment for the minors when the expedited dockets began last July.  Indeed, Justice went so far as to block any court video of the March 6 proceeding.  But POLITICO purchased a copy of the 96-page transcript from the federal court reporter after its release. ... Deputy Assistant Attorney General Leon Fresco ... breezes past the legal challenges facing the children — many of whom have little command of English — in seeking asylum.  “They attend the hearing, they tell the judge that they have a fear of removal to their home country, and the judge administratively closes their removal proceedings.  I think that’s it,” Fresco tells Zilly.  Still later he comes back with even more force. “More than likely, Your Honor, the judge would ask, ‘Are you afraid to go home?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because they shot my parents.’ ‘Okay. You get asylum,’ Fresco said." - David Rogers, Politico, Mar. 27, 2015.