The US Justice Department is planning to temporarily reassign immigration judges from around the US to 12 cities, in an attempt to speed up the deportation of undocumented immigrants charged with criminal offenses. This is according to two officials in the Trump administration.
The officials say that, while the number of judges to be reassigned and when this is likely to take place is still being reviewed by the Justice Department; volunteers are already being solicited for deployment. The cities targeted include New York, Miami, San Francisco, Bloomington, El Paso, as well as Harlingen in Texas, Omaha in Nebraska, Phoenix in Arizona, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Minnesota. The officials say that these cities have been selected because of the high number of undocumented immigrants who have criminal charges leveled against them.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review, in the Justice Department, handles the administration of immigration courts. A spokeswoman from there has confirmed that the cities in question have been named, as the likely places immigration judges will be reassigned. She declined to give further details about plans for the moves.
The plan to speed up deportations corresponds with promises made by President Donald Trump, during last year’s election campaign, to deport more criminal immigrants. The reshuffle of the judges was requested by the Department of Homeland Security – an unusual decision, given that the Department of Justice is normally responsible for administering immigration courts.