Local News

Jul 31, 2014 10:41 PM by Bart Bedsole - bbedsole@kristv.com

Immigration Attorney Notices Changes In Immigrant Processing

CORPUS CHRISTI - Depending on their age, sex, country of origin, and criminal history, the time that an undocumented immigrant spends in the U.S. recently became either a lot shorter or a lot longer, according to local immigration attorney Will Humble.

His office has noticed two changes over the last few weeks.

More immigration judges are now in South Texas to process detained immigrants out of detention centers more quickly and deport them to their home countries.

However, the court hearings for lower risk immigrants who are released to reside temporarily in the U.S. are now delayed much longer than before.

Humble says, "I'll get a letter in the mail that says your case that you thought you had in two weeks, surprise, it's scheduled for late 20015, early 2016. I even have cases in 2017 already on the calendar."

"People who are not in detention are being scheduled for way out in the future, so that he people who are detained will get to see a judge as soon as possible," he adds.

But those changes have to do with the way the cases are processed.

They have nothing to do with the laws governing who's allowed to stay permanently, and why.

Immigrants are pleading with lawmakers to change the rules and stop the deportations.

Dulce Medina, who recently immigrated from Guatemala, told a House committee this week, "Please do what is best for the kids that are in desperate need of help."

But crime, which compelled so many of the Central Americans to head north, is still not a reason for asylum.

"The laws were written so long ago, and they no longer jive with real life," says Humble.

Humble says it may be time to update the criteria for asylum, partly for the sake of those living in fear of cartels and killings.

"Changing the definition of persecution, changing the requirement to merit protection in the United States, that's what needs to be addressed," he explains.

Humble realizes, however, that the politics of the immigration debate make those changes especially difficult, and especially slow.

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