California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has said the Golden State could be a “leader” on national immigration policy even though the issues involved are usually federally controlled, has called the border-crossing crisis involving unaccompanied children a “crisis,” but stopped well short of commenting on what the state might do about the situation, according to a Fresno Bee newspaper report. The Bee also reports that Brown “…accused critics of exploiting the situation for political gain.”
With armed “citizen groups” starting to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border and angry crowds protesting the arrival of children into their communities, the ongoing “unaccompanied children immigration” crisis is growing worse. Clearly, this is a tragic worst-case example of what happens with “rationing justice” in our civil courts, and California has the biggest caseload backup with tens of thousands of kids awaiting a day in court.
In a country where citizens are only vaguely aware that immigration is mostly controlled by civil, not criminal, courts, the ongoing “unaccompanied children” crisis is serving to shed some light on how the civil courts work – or, more exactly, how they sometimes don’t work. Now a coalition of immigration groups has filed a federal lawsuit against the United States over non-representation of these children, The Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Meanwhile, federal authorities say that some of the 243 immigration judges in 59 courts nationwide will be reassigned to hear the cases, either at the border or by video with some new judges appointed temporarily. Clearly, the issue is not going away – read some of the Times’ excellent coverage here.
Anyone thinking that the re-branding of the controversial “Administrative office of the Courts, or AOC” to the “Judicial Council staff” is window dressing might note comments by outgoing AOC Director Steven Jahr, who called the measure “superfluous,” according to the MetNews.
Jahr replaced William Vickrey, who, the MetNews story reminds us, “… left the AOC in September 2011 amid mounting controversy over the agency’s spending practices and a $500 million court technology project that judges and state legislators deemed a failure.”
Read the report here: Courts Director Jahr to Step Down After Two Years
Background: National Public Radio and others are drawing attention to the fact that, over the past nine months, “… more than 50,000 children and teenagers have crossed that border illegally on their own, most from Central America. By law, the administration can’t deport those young people until they have an immigration hearing — a process that can take years.” The immigration law is different for people from Mexico, who can be returned much faster.
That means what we’re seeing is really a high-profile example of what happens when civil courts can’t meet demands. There is very likely a similar situation in many of our family courts and other systems, and those will eventually bring their own “crisis” headlines.
Here’s the NPR report: Obama To Ask Congress For $2B To Ease Immigration Crisis