Acting on orders from the Obama administration, immigration courts in Orlando and Miami have created accelerated dockets for unaccompanied minors and families, part of an effort to stem the flood of Central Americans crossing into the U.S. illegally, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Under the new procedures, immigration courts have set up “rocket dockets,” speeding up the time it takes to review migrants’ cases and determine whether they should be deported. The new process could take months rather than the typical two or three years needed to resolve typical deportation proceedings.
Some judges have been directed to focus primarily on juvenile and family cases, a shift that Department of Justice officials acknowledge will inevitably lead to longer delays for thousands of other people. After Texas and New York, Florida has received the third-largest number of what the government calls unaccompanied alien children, roughly 57,000 of whom have crossed the border since October. More than 3,000 are believed to be in Florida. In Miami, judges have 1,845 pending immigration cases involving minors. In Orlando, more than 600 such cases are pending.