Money talks: Three billionaires who don’t often find themselves on the same side of issues – Bill Gates, Sheldon Adelson and Warren Buffett — take on the do-nothing Congress in this must-read New York Times editorial, opening with this:
American citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country. We are getting shortchanged.
The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.
Growing backlogs in immigration courts: According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, the number of pending immigration cases reached an all time high of 375,503 at the end of June — an increase of more than 50,000 since the start of FY 2013.
California has the largest backlog (77,400 cases), followed by Texas (62,143) and then New York (55,010).
Wait times are also longer: the average time a pending case has been waiting in immigration court is now 587 days.
And the number of cases involving juveniles has climbed to 41,640. Those coming from Guatemala make up the largest group, with 12,841 cases, followed by Honduras (12,696) and El Salvador (12,162).
The immigration court in Charlotte, which handles cases for those in North and South Carolina, has a much lower backlog, with 3,386 cases and an average pending time of 258 days. Most of those involve immigrants from Honduras (1100 cases), followed by Mexico (997), Guatemala (480) and El Salvador (406).
Defending immigrant children: Many of those immigrant children who’ve traveled alone to get here find themselves alone again in a courtroom, facing deportation without any assistance of counsel. Rebecca Leber reports in the New Republic on a recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU to remedy that situation.
This week, the American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, and other immigration advocacy groups filed a class-action lawsuitagainst the Attorney General’s office, arguing that this setup is unconstitutional. The court system works differently for immigrants than it does for citizens. Undocumented children are treated as “adults in miniature.” And unlike citizens who have a right to a public defender if they cannot afford a lawyer, undocumented adults have no such right. The lawsuit argues undocumented children deserve to be represented by a lawyer in a legal system that “rivals the Internal Revenue Code in its complexity.”