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September 17, 2015

Civil Rights Comm. hammers immigration authorities on family detention
By Paul Ingram

By the end of fiscal 2014, nearly 63,000 unaccompanied minors, some as young as 2-years old, came into the United States. The shift prompted a massive response by DHS, which included flying unaccompanied minors to Tucson where they were bused to Nogales for processing before sent on to officials with Health and Human Services and families and sponsors throughout the United States. At the same time, nearly 63,000 people in family units also came into DHS custody, prompting Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to issue a public statement, saying that both groups would be deported. "Those who cross our border illegally must know there is no safe passage, and no free pass," Johnson said. "Within the confines of our laws, our values, and our resources, they will be sent back to their home countries." In June, Johnson headed calls from Congressional Democrats to release immigrant families, and announced that families who entered the country illegally would be released after they've established their eligibility for asylum. However, a lack of immigration judges and lawyers has stymied the return of thousands of immigrants back to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The current backlog for immigration cases in U.S. courts has reached an all-time high of 635 days, according to data complied by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Moreover, data from TRAC shows that in asylum cases, immigrants who have access to a lawyer are 14 times as likely to win their case.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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