Immigration Newsletter

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Courting Disaster?

Andrew Becker and Hugo Cabrera have done a real nice job with an article on TruthDig about all of the Homeland Security money being spent on Immigration Enforcement Police (ICE/Border Patrol), Prosecutors (DHS) and detention facilities -- and yet the Immigration Courts handled by the Department of Justice are way behind on their caseload and are not growing at anything like the same pace. It looks like trouble for both "due process" and increased enforcement; a real bottleneck in the making. They have called the article "America's approach to immigration is ICE backwards". Click on the title above to go there, or you can reach it through Bender's where I found it:

Do you know where the immigration court is for New Hampshire? How about for Maine? The Green Mountain State? That's right...the answers are Boston, Boston, and Boston. I have been lobbying to get an immigration judge up here in New Hampshire for about two years now with little success. It really makes no sense to have all of Northern New England fight the Boston traffic to go to court. For some of my clients it can be over 7 hours each way; for most of them there is an extra hour spent in traffic that they could avoid if the court were not located right in government center.

There are two immigration judges from New Hampshire on the bench in Boston and at least one DHS trial attorney who commutes from NH to work everyday -- why not set up a small operation in New Hampshire to handle the cases from Northern New England? There is enough work and there are already an ICE office and a USCIS office in Manchester.

Even as the Immigration Court expands at the JFK federal Building, the other immigration agencies are moving out of downtown. ICE has moved most of it's operation to Burlington, MA, and USCIS is opening a new office in Lawrence, MA that will handle a very significant percentage of Boston's workload. I could use some help with my one man show of trying to get the court to be a little more accomidating to immigrants who have sucessfully managed to cross the border (the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire that is).

If you would like some additional Obama dollars coming into Northern New England, if you would like to take a small bite out of Boston commuter traffic and correspondingly help the environment, or if you would just like to make the lives of your fellow Northern New Englanders a little easier -- contact your Senators or Representatives. Send an email to Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. or even to President Obama. Tell them that, as part of the expansion plan for immigration enforcement, Northern New England needs its own immigration court.

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