Justice Dept. Reverses Policy That Sped Up Deportations

The Trump Administration reverses an Obama policy of speeding up deportations for families and children who are in the US illegally. Resources will be focused on having trials to determine whether or not to deport immigrants who are in detention centers.

The Justice Department this week rescinded the Obama administration’s policy of speeding up hearings and deportations of families and children seeking refuge in the United States, a move applauded by immigration advocates who had called the practice unfair and ineffective.

The expedited hearings were started in 2014 to deal with increasing numbers of people fleeing Central America, in hopes of deterring additional migration. But the policy was largely viewed as a failure in that regard, as even more people from the region sought relief in the past two years than in 2014.

The reversal this week was a rare occasion for advocates to cheer the Trump administration after two weeks of moves they decried.

“This is a good thing,” said Bryan Johnson, an immigration lawyer in New York. “They are going back to common sense.”

The reversal, explained in a memo from the country’s chief immigration judge, MaryBeth Keller, to judges nationwide, said the change would let the courts focus more on immigrants in detention centers who are awaiting deportation hearings, a costly population and a higher priority for the government. Families and children applying for asylum are usually not detained while their cases are being considered.