Immigration judges in Denver to take on asylum cases while reports of due process violations against women and children detainees

The conditions and reports of the court process in Artesia are reported as appalling.

The conditions and reports of the court process in Artesia are reported as appalling.

More than 600 women with their children and unaccompanied children are detained in an ICE facility in southeast New Mexico in the desert town of Artesia. The detention center was opened to help house newly arriving Central American refugees. One ICE official spoke out confidentially and said, “The goal is to process the immigrants and have them deported within 10 to 15 days to send a message back to their home countries that there are consequences for illegal immigration.[i]

The conditions and reports of the court process in Artesia are reported as appalling.

Volunteer attorneys representing asylum seekers frequently speak out about the conditions in which they find immigrant women and children. Several professionals involved report that mothers are directed to testify before an immigration judge, right in front of their children, and detail the physical, emotional and other abuses committed against them to prove the credibility of their pleas for asylum.

Only 38 percent of asylum seekers are granted relief in Artesia, significantly less than other facilities. Laura Lichter, a lawyer from Colorado who has been making volunteer trips to represent women and children in Artesia recently told reporters that, the living conditions there are like a “hellhole” and the way court cases are being handled is “appalling.[ii]” Many agree with the criticisms of what has been happening in Artesia, which led to a lawsuit filed against the U.S. by several human rights advocacy groups.

New Denver Immigration Judges are taking over some of the asylum docket for video hearings.

Video hearings for asylum seekers are being transferred from Immigration Judges in Arlington, VA to their colleagues in Denver. In the same time zone, as one proponent noted, the immigration judges in Denver are expected to more fairly uphold due process of law while engaged in the expedited review of immigrant asylum cases. Of course, the spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Justice, Kathryn Mattingly states the decision to reassign cases to the Denver judges had nothing to do with complaints about the Artesia facility or the pending lawsuit.[iii]

Two of the Denver immigration judges will be taken off the current Denver immigration court docket, leaving the third judge to manage a staggering 8,000 plus cases with hearing dates set out as far as 2018. Local attorneys practicing before the Denver Immigration Judges have mixed feelings about the transfer. “The general feeling is that we are really happy to have these [asylum] cases in Denver,” said Denver immigration attorney Byron Large, who also lamented the increased backlog of other immigration cases.

To learn more about volunteer attorneys and the need for their services, please read our article, “More than 60,000 unaccompanied minors need immigration lawyers and volunteer organizations need pro bono help.”

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] Denver Post, Feds: Immigrant center to expedite deportations, by Juan Carlos Llorea, Associated Press, Jun. 26, 2014.

[ii] Denver Post, Backlogged Denver immigration courts will take on glut of asylum cases, by Nancy Lofholm, Sept. 22, 2014.

[iii] Denver Post article at HNii above.

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Millions of immigrants again on hold: More political moves delay immigration reform as deportations continue.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

Children at recess used to play a game called “Red Light, Green Light,” where the one child faces away from the other children who start behind a line, saying “green light,” so the children behind the line can creep closer and tag them before they quickly turn around and say, “red light.” Is this the real strategy on immigration reform on Capitol Hill?

Reporting news and updates on immigration reform and the problems caused by inaction seems futile when people make promises and do not keep them. More often, people say they will make every effort at taking action, the political version of a promise. Both sides of the political aisle are frustrated with the failure to make meaningful reform to our badly outdated immigration system. As President Obama, the Democrats and Republicans in Congress continue sparring, the human casualties are mounting.

President Obama announced a delay of his executive action until after the mid-term elections in November, irritating many who anticipated immigration relief.

Earlier this summer, President Obama asked Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to hold off on releasing the results of a review of the immigration system, so House Republicans could get together necessary votes to pass a reform bill. It never happened. When Congress adjourned for summer break, the President reported he was working on his own plan for relief through executive orders, something the House Republicans first criticized him for doing, and then suggested he take executive action after all. Meanwhile, the mid-term elections scheduled for November are the latest roadblock to reform. On Saturday September 6, The Associated Press tweeted, “BREAKING: White House officials: Obama to delay immigration action until after November election.”

Result: “Millions of immigrants will face at least 60 more days under the threat of deportation[i]

The human cost of this delay is significant. As the quote from the article indicates, millions of undocumented immigrants who anticipated relief from deportation now fear the worst. Of the millions of immigrants waiting for relief, advocates estimate that an actual 60,000 immigrants will be deported within the next 60 days.

DHS is still stating that they are, “using “prosecutorial discretion” so that resident, law-abiding unauthorized immigrants don’t get deported.[ii]” Instead, they claim, “high priority” immigrants, “those who have committed crimes, have recently entered the country, or were deported and then came back,” are the focus of current deportation activity.[iii]

The message sent by the U.S., likely heard worldwide, is that immigrants are marginalized.

Wouldn’t you feel alienated and awkward coming to a country in political turmoil over what to do about your arrival and presence? From one political party who embraces policies helping people suffering violence and injustice in their home countries, to another who would like to catapult them back to their home countries, it must be terrible not knowing who they can trust. Some compassion for people who likely are not thrilled about leaving their home countries would make for a stronger immigration stance and the current ping-pong games make U.S. leaders look foolish.

While likely feeling marginalized by a seemingly unfair political struggle, the undocumented immigrants who made it safely to the U.S. can only hope for positive change and relief, through President Obama or Congress, whoever is able to make a meaningful difference. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley also hopes for positive change in U.S. immigration policy. She will continue to offer updates and available immigration news.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i] Vox, The human cost of Obama’s delay on immigration action, by Dara Lind, Sept. 8, 2014.

[ii] See, Vox article above (HNi)

[iii] See, Vox article above (HNi)