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Home / US / Deportation order for girls, 11, blame for "worsening" immigration tribunals

Deportation order for girls, 11, blame for "worsening" immigration tribunals



To Suzanne Gamboa

The case of an eleven-year-old girl who has been deported on her own is pointing to the most congested immigration courts and the consequences of the trials, as the courts are trying to to keep pace with the government's political priorities and to increase and change the number of cases.

An immigration judge in Houston signed a deportation order for Laura Maradiaga-Alvarado on March 12, originally from El Salvador, and the case gradually became more public.

Following a request from the lawyer ̵

1; and the day after a Houston lawyer's press conference with Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) lawmaker – the judge re-opened the Laura case. On May 20, she ruled one in Houston New Hearing, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review and Laura's lawyer Silvia Mintz.

"The fact that the case reopened so quickly shows the court's willingness to correct the clerical error." Mintz said Tuesday night in NBC News.

The decision to deport her had provoked outrage and even triggered furious tweets by Houston police chief Art Acevedo.

The Nazis have also enforced their laws. They do not separate children from their families! Always! "He said to a series of tweets .

The deportation order was attributed to a mistake that took place after a scheduled hearing in February. The girl, her mother, and her sister were arrested by the government March 12 postponed.

Laura was with her mother and sister at the hearing for the hearing on March 12, but the family was informed by a translator on whom Laura had not appeared the file with her family members. The deportation order mistakenly stated that Laura was absent at the hearing on 12 March and there was no good reason why she did not attend the hearing.

Laura's mother, Dora Alvarado, learned that her daughter was deported because of another mistake. On March 12, she was due to appear three days earlier – on March 9. Laura's mother mistakenly thought that the court wanted her to appear on April 9 because 9 March was already over. She was in court all day and never called. The next day she returned, and when she learned that her daughter had been deported, Mintz said.

An elderly daughter went to a high school counselor with a document to have it explained, and the counselor contacted the family. Immigration advocacy group FIEL Houston.

Laura Maradiaga-Alvarado, an 11-year-old deported without a family, sits (with a dog) with her mother Dora Alvarado and her sister Katherine Maradiaga. Courtesy of Fiel Houston

"These mistakes should not happen, imagine that they did not turn up and find out," Mintz said. "I'm worried about all the other people who have experienced a mistake in court and do not know how to seek help."

What exactly happened did not exactly determine the error. But Mintz says the mistake is the result of overworked personnel and a congestion of cases that are now typical of immigration courts.

"This case fell through the cracks somewhere after the government broke," Mintz told NBC News on Tuesday

The family seeks asylum after Laura's father was killed in El Salvador. Another family member was also killed, one died at the border crossing in Piedras Negras. The lawyer had no details of the deaths.

Immigration tribunals had been strained for years, but the 34-day government shutdown that began on December 21, 2018, was the longest in history of thousands of immigration cases.

"It's understandable that thousands of cases had to be rescheduled, so of course mistakes would happen," Mintz said. "However, this shows how a mistake, whether abusive or not, can lead to devastation in a family and the separation of a family."

Cesar Espinosa, a spokesperson for FIEL Houston, who helped Laura and her family seek legal help since Laura's case caught the media attention, lawyers have contacted the group to report bugs that have affected their clients.

Amber Gracia, senior attorney at Naimeh Salem & Associates in Houston, said she has seen an increase in court error since the start of the Trump administration.

She is in court three times a week, and at least one day creates a problem resulting from a mistake or error in court. She was in court on Tuesday, the same day she talked to NBC News in a telephone interview, and someone was in the courtroom for a scheduled hearing, but was not included in the file.

Shutdown aggravated the overburdened system

Gracia said he received announcements to appear before the Immigration Court with other lawyers or persons without a lawyer. A court sent a statement late last year rejecting an immigrant's application for asylum, and the person had only 30 days to respond. When she received the message, at least three days had passed. The person was lucky and could find them through the court, Gracia said.

Apart from mistakes, rescheduling hearings during stoppage has upset life. Gracia said that a client is about to marry her green card just before her final hearing and looks forward to seeing her family after ten years. But because of the closure, her hearing was postponed in three years.

"We can ask the court to go forward, but that's up to the court and now it's overloaded with an overloaded file." Gracia said.

Long before the closure, the American Bar Association had called for reforms of the courts because of the arrears and the angry understaffing.

Laura Maradiaga-Alvarado, 11, who was deported but has since been deported, had reopened her case with family members. From left to right Dora Alvarado, Laura's mother; and her sisters. Courtesy of Fiel Houston

In a March report, the Bar Association stated that the situation had "deteriorated significantly" since the court system was reviewed in 2010.

The same problems that the Bar Association identified in its report nearly ten years ago – inadequate staffing, training and recruitment; growing order backlogs; Inconsistent decision-making among judges, particularly in asylum cases, and adoption of videoconferencing technology that hampers fair hearings – continues to plague the courts, according to the Bar.

The situation is exacerbated by years of non-compliance with immigration reform by Congress. Add to this the policies of this government and the shifting of priorities for the courts.

According to the Transactional Records Access Clearing House at Syracuse University (Syracuse University), on February 28, 855,000 cases were pending and published the data of the justice system. That was more than 300,000 people who stood at the end of January 2017 on the occasion of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Congress increased funding to add more judges, but failed to occupy many of them, said Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, a volunteer group.

Many judges have no courts and either move from the courtroom to the courtroom or work in decision-making centers, where they hold hearings by teleconference. These systems disrupt continuity in dockets. Many judges have no employees, translators and assistants. Courts have arrears of 5,000 cases with hearings that were scheduled in advance each year that they need to reshuffle as the administration changes the cases in which they want to prioritize, she said. "They do not regard us as judges or judges." If we think of ourselves as a kind of factory or widget, they always think they could exchange the widget for other parts, "she said.

Jackson Lee planning to reintroduce legislation to expand and improve the immigration courts, Laura's case called wake-up call on the courts, their operational resources and the political influence of the administration on the courts.

She asked if the judges would receive the correct information about the cases.

"Whether you are signing the order or not knowing it You think it's an eleven-year-old? "Jackson asked Lee.

"We do not know if there are other cases where children were never deported (alone)," she told NBC News. "It must be a question of what goes on in these courts."

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