Thursday, May 23, 2019
Although the border may be the center of attention for immigration, the fate of hundreds of thousands of migrants are decided on miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The WNYC Radiolab's Takeaway is reporting on the crisis in the immigration courts. For months, their senior reporter Beth Fertig has been sitting in on immigration courts in New York City, to see how proceedings are changing under the Trump Administration. Click below to hear this segment. An accompanying story by Fertig appears here.
"We hear so much about the border and these tent cities and these migrants coming, and all the lawsuits taking place right now," Beth Fertig said. "But the places where those cases will ultimately be decided will be in immigration court — which is this world that a lot of people don’t get to see. And these judges have the fate of all of the immigrants in their hands right now." The number of pending immigration cases has ballooned in recent years after the Trump administration implemented stricter asylum demands. These additions to the bench in New York City — the nation’s busiest immigration court — are part of a larger hiring wave across the country.
The Radiolab program comes the same week as NPR All Thing Considered interview with Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge, about how President Trump's new proposals to raise high-skilled immigration will affect immigration courts. The upshot: it will have no impact. Click below to listen.
UPDATE 5/24/2019: A TRAC report supplements these narrative accounts with quantitative data about the burgeoning immigration caseload and the inability of IJ hiring to keep pace.