Two agencies of the Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs (ICE) – have traditionally referred the largest number of cases to federal prosecutors, until the arrival of the coronavirus caused a drastic decrease, reported this Tuesday the independent Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), Syracuse University (New York).
Although the judicial processes have recovered in most of the federal prosecutors of the country to the level they had before the scourge of the pandemic, this is not the case in matters related to immigration. Prosecutors are receiving few issued by CBP, which is largely responsible for arresting immigrants for unauthorized entry or re-entry along the border with Mexico.
Historically, this federal agency has represented most of the immigration processes that reach the prosecutor’s offices, but that changed with COVID-19 after the Administration of President Donald Trump launched a policy to quickly deport those who try to enter without authorization. to the country, highlights the TRAC report.
When the pandemic broke out, the Trump administration launched the application at the border of the rules of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under which all people detained for having crossed the border, including minors , they are deported immediately.
“The decline in CBP’s immigration referrals to federal prosecutors therefore appears to be driven, at least partially, by a policy change within the Administration that prioritizes deportation over prosecution,” he says in his report. .
It highlights that without the immigration cases, the volume of federal processes filed in the vast majority of prosecutors’ offices is occurring at rates similar to those that existed before the hit of the pandemic and the closure of federal offices in mid-March.
According to TRAC, the recovery in 14 of the 90 federal judicial districts in the country has not yet reached the pre-pandemic level, and that list includes the Southern districts of New York in Manhattan, South Florida, South Texas ( Houston) and Northern California, in San Francisco.
But while these districts are home to large metropolitan areas, other large city districts such as the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) have largely recovered, the report warns.
Additionally, federal court proceedings in some more rural districts of the country, such as Maine and Vermont, have also been slow to recover.
The findings are based on an analysis of the Justice Department’s case-by-case records, updated through August 2020, obtained by TRAC following litigation under the Freedom of Information Act.