Thousands of undocumented immigrant minors who illegally crossed the US border have begun to have their expedited cases heard in the best possible place: New York judges are believed to be the most lenient in the whole of the United States when it comes to granting asylum.
Frank Loprest is the first judge to have been assigned to the cases. Loprest was picked by the Obama administration and has a track record of granting asylum to 88% of all such cases that he hears, which is well above the national average of 50%. Other New York judges have proved to be similarly compassionate. “They are very empathic,” says New York immigration attorney Noemi Masliah. “They listen carefully to the evidence. It’s as if they feel like they are saving a life when they grant cases.”
Masliah notes, however, that while this is the case in New York, immigrants hoping for asylum in other parts of the country often face a far rougher ride. She added that it is “disturbing” to realize that the chance of success for immigrants often depends on where their case is heard.
The court will be the front line of the crisis surrounding undocumented immigrant minors, over 63,000 of whom have crossed the border into the United States since last October. An immigration task force has been created to put a stop to the expedited hearings and give assistance to undocumented minors and their families to increase their chances of being given asylum.