There has long been a consistent stream of migrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States illegally and it has long been a serious point of contention both in American politics and in relations between the United States and the rest of the world. But the problem has reached epidemic proportions over the past several years as there has been an almost overwhelming increase in the number of migrants crossing the border and politicians have been under extraordinary pressure to do something about it. To that effect, last week the Justice Department made an announcement that it plans to implement a number of steps geared toward addressing the issue and quelling the waves of migrants trying to gain access to the US via its southern border.
Some of the plans that were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole include increasing the efforts of several federal agencies in conjunction with the DOJ and the Mexican government to investigate and prosecute anyone who is apprehended bringing migrants across the border, addressing violence in Central American countries by providing training and support, and allocating resources to speed up the court process involved in adjudicating recent cases of illegal immigration. Refocusing these resources will involve prioritizing cases of illegal migrants that have already been places by the Department of Homeland Security into removal proceedings so that these cases can be processed more quickly but still be processed fairly.
Speeding up the judicial process will also involve hiring more immigration judges and there are already measures in place that will allow for the appointment of “temporary” immigration judges. It is unknown at this point how long these judges will be needed but even if it is for several years to come until the migrant numbers are quelled, these judges would only have a temporary designation. Additionally, individuals who are in the midst of removal proceedings would have better access to legal resources and assistance as part of several expanded legal programs.
The Department is also planning to request new funds for assistance in fighting crime and criminal gangs on a transnational basis in Central America. The request for these funds is part of an overall strategy by the Department to address the issues within several Central American countries that are seen as the cause for migrants wanting to flee in the first place.
There is also a very high level of interest in increasing the efforts of the Department in conjunction with Mexican authorities to identify and arrest individuals who are helping to bring unaccompanied children across the US border. This has been a particularly relevant issue that has been the cause of a great deal of media scrutiny for the Obama Administration recently. Also, several US attorney in border states will be meeting with the Deputy Attorney General to discuss ways in which the efforts of criminal organizations that transport unaccompanied minors across the border can be disrupted and the organizations themselves dismantled.
If you or someone you know has questions about this or any other immigration issue or are in need of legal counsel regarding immigration, please visit the Austin immigration specialists at the Lyttle Law Firm by visiting our website or calling our offices in Austin, Texas at 512-215-5225.