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Rocket Dockets: Jettisoning Justice For Refugee Kids?

September 01, 2014 (1 min read)

"Lawyers call them rocket dockets — court schedules that speed deportation hearings for Central American children who crossed the U.S. border without a parent.  Some question whether the children are getting proper legal representation as immigration judges work their way through the fast-paced dockets.  In rare criticism Wednesday, leaders of the National Association of Immigration Judges said it is a mistake to move up cases of vulnerable children in an already backlogged system.  “We deal with cases that are often, in effect, death penalty cases,” said Dana Leigh Marks, union president and a San Francisco-based judge.  “Immigration law enforcement must stand on its own and not be allowed to overshadow or to control the immigration judicial process.”  The Obama administration issued the fast-track order in July to discourage swelling numbers of Honduran, Salvadoran and Guatemalan families from sending children north.  Now, family dramas unreel at a furious pace before Judge Michael Baird, who hears the juvenile cases in a starkly lit courtroom in the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas. ..." - DIANNE SOLÍS, Dallas Morning News, Aug. 27, 2014.