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The Austin Chronicle
July 26, 2019

Amid New Immigration Policies, Local Attorneys and Immigrants Navigate a Broken System
By Mary Tuma


In April, U.S. Attorney General William Barr ordered immigration judges who are hired under the Department of Justice and are part of the executive (not the judicial) branch, leaving them vulnerable to political pressure to deny bond hearings for asylum seekers, keeping migrants detained for months, or even years as the court system faces an extensive backlog that's climbed more than 70% since Trump assumed office. A total of 424 judges face a backlog of over 892,000 cases on the courts' active dockets. On July 2, a Seattle district judge ruled that Barr's order to indefinitely detain migrants is unconstitutional. In defense of its bond denial scheme, the administration has argued "90% of families" don't show up if they're released a claim echoed by Texas state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, during a Capitol hearing on immigration earlier this month but that's false. As of the end of May 2019, out of about 47,000 newly arriving families seeking refuge in this country, nearly six of every seven released from custody had appeared for their initial court hearing, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) database.


Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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