Top Immigration Judge Calls For Shift On 'Fast-Tracking' Of Refugee Kids, Moms

Top Immigration Judge Calls For Shift On 'Fast-Tracking' Of Refugee Kids, Moms

"As the Obama administration says the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the Southwest border is declining, the White House is being urged to stop fast-tracking their deportation hearings. That call is coming from an unusual source: one of the nation's top immigration judges.

"We know of the political reality that is putting pressure on the administration to hear these cases quickly," said Judge Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. But, she said, fast-tracking increases the likelihood of further clogging the court system, as the practice could lead to appeals based on noncitizens' lack of understanding of the U.S. process.

"The court system itself is extremely well-served when noncitizens who appear before us are represented by attorneys," Marks said.

Fast-tracking also could lead to delays because the Department of Justice has placed the minors' cases ahead of tens of thousands of pending immigration cases.

Marks' comments came on the heels of reports (here and here) that there is a shortage of pro bono lawyers available to meet the crunching demand for representation for the minors." - Richard Gonzalez, NPR, Aug. 8, 2014.