The Trump administration has urged to restart the thousands of deportation cases that were previously suspended by the immigration judges, as per the statistics provided by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, which manages the immigration courts, on Wednesday.
The lawyers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so far this fiscal year, have requested for the reactivation of around 8,000 deportation cases that have been closed administratively. There were nearly 8,400 such requests in the previous fiscal year, with around four months of the Obama administration.
The speed of such requests is almost double that of the last couple of years of the Obama administration, where such requests were recorded to be 3,551 and 4,847, respectively. Experts say that generally, judges grant the requests to restart cases.
The data came just after a month since Attorney General Jeff Sessions restricted immigration judges’ ability to indefinitely suspend deportation cases. He said that this practice “resulted in illegal aliens remaining indefinitely in the United States without any formal legal status.”
The Obama administration had urged to suspend cases that were considered a low priority using prosecutorial option, as the courts dealt with a major backlog. Overall, over 300,000 cases have been administratively closed.
According to the latest statistics were aligned with stated goals of the administration on immigration.
Sarah Pierce, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, said, referring to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said, “DHS’s increase in motions to recalendar is part of a broad, administration-wide effort to increase deportations.”
“The effort has been accelerated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ ruling that immigration judges do not have the authority to administratively close cases, and subsequent DHS guidance to ICE attorneys instructing them to recalendar every single case that has ever been administratively closed,” she added.
On Wednesday, the ICE said that they were making an effort to restart the cases closed previously, where individuals had been convicted for a crime. The ICE was reviewed the cases that were closed via prosecutorial discretion, to understand if the reasons for such discretion were still valid.
The reason to why the government had sought to reopen a case has not been made clear by the statistics released, on Wednesday.
Pierce said that the reactivation of cases that had been closed, many for years, might have a psychological impact on tens of thousands of immigrants.
“For the over 355,000 immigrants whose cases have been administratively closed, this is frightening. They have been living in relative peace knowing that they are not in active deportation proceedings. Now, under the Trump administration, they face a renewed chance at being deported,” she said.