One hour, 10.5 minutes.
That’s how much time, on the average, an immigration judge has to dedicate to an immigrant’s case at the Los Angeles immigration court per year.
If you’re one of the thousands of Angelinos, who has been summoned to 606 South Olive, in overcrowded Los Angeles, to an overcrowded court, consider yourself lucky.
Immigration judges nationwide get less time to review similar matters.
Small changes, my mother taught me, can sometimes make the biggest differences.
As a Riverside immigration attorney, that’s how I view a procedural change being proposed for immigrant bond and custody hearings.
Henry Adams was right.
A great teacher affects eternity; no one knows where his or her influence stops.
Larry Schwartz, my college history instructor, was that type of educator.
Outside my parents, Professor Schwartz was the most influential person in my life. As an educator, he guided my studies of social, racial, and political injustices. As a mentor, he inspired me to become a professional dedicated to helping the downtrodden and disadvantaged.
He taught me, above all else, that law is the ultimate instrument of political power.
The immigration court system has many flaws. Too much due process is not one of them.
A few years back, Law Professor Bennett L. Gershman aptly described how immigration courts work:
“Imagine a legal proceeding where the judge is hired by the chief prosecutor, the defendant is charged with an unintelligible offense, he has no lawyer to defend him, the proceedings are conducted in a language he does not understand, and the punishment is banishment from his home, his livelihood, and his family for the rest of his life.”
The immigration court system needs repair.
“The State Of Our Courts: A View From The Inside,” a report issued by the National Association Of Immigration Judges, revealed:
“The Immigration Courts caseload is spiraling out of control, dramatically outpacing the judicial resources and making a complete gridlock of the current system a disturbing and foreseeable probability. The morale of the immigration judges corps is plummeting.”
Yet, immigration courts are rarely mentioned in current immigration reform discussions.
The immigration prosecutorial discretion circus is coming to a city near you. But it’s unclear which performers are arriving and what acts will be carried out.
In August 2010, ICE Director John Morton recommended expanding the use of prosecutorial discretion in all phases of immigration law.
Following loud public criticism, these ideas quickly disappeared.
Back in my days as a political science professor, I would point out how candidates scapegoat politically powerless individuals for self gain.
Like undocumented immigrants.
Since they cannot vote, their ability to fight back is nearly non-existent.
Apparently, immigration officials haven’t read recent reports about how to fix our broken immigration system.
Perhaps they just don’t care.
But whatever their rationale, their recently-announced plan to open a new immigration detention center in Southern California is misguided.
Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials announced the opening of a new detention center in Southern California.
I have a better idea. Build an immigration court. Hire some new judges.
As a deportation defense lawyer, I know how badly the judiciary is overworked. And I understand how this undermines the ability of immigrants to defend themselves at immigration court.