Immigration courts will partially close for deportation review
Immigration courts in Los Angeles will partially close in July so that judges can review the deportation cases of immigrants in detention with an eye toward administratively closing those deemed low priority, officials said Friday.
The closure will help expedite a nationwide deportation review announced last year by the Obama administration. Officials said they will weigh a variety of discretionary factors in determining deportation, including whether the person is a veteran, came to the U.S. as a child or is a college student.
Discretionary guidelines are already being applied at various levels of the deportation process, but temporarily suspending cases will allow immigration judges to focus on cases that involve immigrants in detention.
Many, though not all, cases involving immigrants not currently in detention will be suspended from July 9 to July 20 to allow for the review, said Kate Sheehey, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which administers the nation’s immigration courts.
The closure is part of a broad expansion of a pilot program that started in Baltimore and Denver late last year. Immigration courts in Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando and Seattle will suspend all cases involving immigrants who are not in detention from April 23 to May 4. In New York, the courts will partially close from May 7 to May 18; and in San Francisco, they will partially close from June 4 to June 15.
"Today's announcement of the expansion of the pilot program that began late last year will free additional ICE resources to complete the review and will heighten the administration’s focus on priority aliens," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez in a statement.
-- Paloma Esquivel