Putting TRAC to Work
  News Organizations
March 5, 2015

Child migrants face new crisis: Uneven justice
By David Rogers

Despite millions of dollars in new funding for more lawyers, many children are still being asked to make difficult legal decisions without counsel to advise them. “I know the attorney general’s office is saying there’s no pressure, they can continue [the cases] as long as they want, but I don’t think anybody’s seeing that on the ground,” said Mark Bowers, a staff attorney with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Things have gotten better. … But at some point you feel like you’re a triage surgeon in the battlefield. There’s only so much you can do, and there are so many of them.” To measure this, POLITICO examined data provided directly by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which oversees the courts, as well as a broader set of numbers also collected from EOIR by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonprofit based at Syracuse University in New York. Any such analysis is complicated by the fact that EOIR began a new coding system for the unaccompanied children in the middle of the crisis last summer. But taken together, the sample — cross-checked against other reports by the Department of Homeland Security — offers a fair benchmark for the cases over the past 16 months. TRAC, established in 1989, has a respected record of collecting public government data from law enforcement and domestic security agencies and making it available under the Freedom of Information Act. In the ongoing immigration debate, TRAC’s public website includes tools that allow a visitor to sort through its data from EOIR and assess how much variation there has been from one state to the next. Working with these numbers, POLITICO looked at 26 states in which the immigration courts handled the vast bulk of the more than 62,300 juvenile cases included in TRAC’s data from EOIR for all of fiscal 2014 and the first months of fiscal 2015.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2015
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations