Aliens seeking to enter the United States can now be approved by the courts in a process that will now get expedited review by a new nominee. Judge Juliet S. Fleming stepped down as head of the Criminal Division of the US immigration court system in January after Donald Trump became president.
Almost a third of all federal criminal cases are now filed in immigration courts, reports the Reuters news agency. More than 400,000 immigration cases were filed in 2017, up from 523,725 in 2007.
Fleming left to become vice-chairman of the board of the National Association of Immigrants Judges, a part of the group that appeals to the US government to streamline its immigration judge appointments. Her new appointment, it has been announced, will be that of Judge James A. Anderson, who currently serves as an assistant secretary for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security.
As the current leader of the immigration court system, Fleming decided many cases involving asylum seekers, which soared by more than 70 percent between 2013 and 2017, according to the Reuters news agency. Many of those asylum seekers were human traffickers, earning big money from pushing their vulnerable victims across the Mexican border into the US.
The US government has appointed 107 immigration judges nationwide, but Trump has slowed down those appointments by changing legal rules and questioning the role of the courts. He also ordered that all asylum seekers be held in detention centers, not released.