Immigration Law

Immigration Judge Hears Bond Pleas By Video, 1,700 Miles Away

"Immigration Judge Quynh Bain keeps having to interrupt the witness to ask her to slow down her account of the night that some Mara-18 gang members ran her off the road in her hometown in El Salvador.  “Please remember,’’ the judge tells her through an interpreter, “that one of us doesn’t speak Spanish.”  As though that weren’t challenge enough, this bail hearing, which will decide whether Maria Paula Castro Cedillos and her 14- and 17-year-old daughters can be released from detention while awaiting an asylum hearing, is being conducted by teleconference between parties in three states.  Castro Cedillos and her daughters, all of whom are wearing plastic rosaries around their necks, and government-issued navy windbreakers, are seated in front of a camera in a makeshift hearing room at a detention center in Artesia, N.M., where more than 500 Central American mothers and children who have arrived in the United States illegally are being held.  Their attorney, William Elias, is on the phone from El Paso, 200 miles from Artesia, and the interpreter is with Bain here in Virginia, as is the lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security.  All such hearings were held in Arlington until they were reassigned to judges in Denver in late September." - Melinda Hennenberger, Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2014.