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Justice Department To Halt Legal-Advice Program For Illegal Aliens In Detention

Posted on 10 April 2018

The Justice Department will soon pause a legal-advice program used by illegal aliens in U.S. detention, the Washington Post reports. 

The U.S. immigration courts will temporarily halt a program that offers legal assistance to detained foreign nationals facing deportation while it audits the program’s cost-effectiveness, a federal official said Tuesday.

Officials informed the Vera Institute of Justice that starting in April it will pause the nonprofit’s Legal Orientation Program, which last year held information sessions for 53,000 immigrants in more than a dozen states, including California and Texas.

The federal government will also evaluate Vera’s “help desk,” which offers tips to non-detained immigrants facing deportation proceedings in the Chicago, Miami, New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio courts. […]

The Justice Department is ramping up efforts to cut an immigration court backlog of 650,000 cases in half by 2020. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week imposed production quotas on immigration judges to spur them to clear cases more quickly.

Last Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a zero-tolerance policy be enacted toward immigrants unlawfully entering the Southwest border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The Hill reports:

Sessions notified all federal prosecutors along that part of the border of the new policy in a memo Friday and directed them to make prosecuting criminal immigration offenses a priority.

He also directed prosecutors to work with the Department of Homeland Security to develop guidelines for prosecuting offenses under immigration law.

“To those who wish to challenge the Trump Administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice,” Sessions wrote.

“The situation at our Southwest Border is unacceptable,” Sessions said in the statement. “Congress has failed to pass effective legislation that serves the national interest — that closes dangerous loopholes and fully funds a wall along our southern border,” Sessions added.

 

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