‘Rocket Dockets’ Set For Border-Children Immigration

The federal government is creating “rocket dockets” to process unaccompanied border children, hoping to slow the flow of children by showing a policy of quick returns. Critics are responding that the new practice moves too quickly in a system inadequate to provide legally required court oversight and without a system for legal representation.

The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper has a good overview, reporting that “.. under normal rules, the recent arrivals would have queued at the tail-end of a backlogged system where migrants wait months or years for hearings at overstretched immigration courts… instead, with Republicans accusing the president of neglecting border security, the administration vaulted the newly arrived children to the front of the line, and said they would have initial court hearings within 21 days.”

They also cite a California-based critic: “We appreciate the government’s attempt to deal with these [new] cases expeditiously, but not to this extreme. We think 21 days is too fast. Maybe 60 days would be preferable,” said Caitlin Sanderson, director of the Los Angeles-based Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, which has staff attorneys representing about 270 children pro bono.