Chief Immigration Judge MaryBeth Keller recently issued a memo that directs immigration judges and court staff to prioritize the quick deportation of immigrants involved in deportation proceedings. Keller emphasized that these measures were necessary in order to eliminate the huge backlog of cases clogging up the immigration court system. Keller justified her directives by claiming that deportable immigrants were taking advantage of continuances, or asking for more time in immigration court, so that an existing hearing is rescheduled. Continuances can result in hearing dates that are several months or even years away. Generally, Keller’s memo to immigration judges advised to restrict the granting of continuance motions to situations that merited them, such as allowing time for an immigrant to seek legal counsel. Other valid reasons for continuances might be for more research and preparation in complex cases and for DHS attorneys to conduct background and security checks. Essentially, the memo reads that cases in which there is a “genuine showing of good cause or a clear case law basis” are the only ones that merit a continuance. Overall, the policies outlined in this memo have the effect of making it even harder for immigrants to prove their cases in court. Furthermore, since immigrants have no right to an attorney in civil immigration proceedings and are often detained in remote immigration detention centers pending deportation hearings, the ability of immigrants to get legal representation is significantly impaired, or even impossible. Previously, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prioritized the detention and deportation of immigrants with serious criminal histories. Now, however, there appears to be no prioritization of immigrant arrests and detention, and it is just as likely that an immigrant without a criminal record will be arrested as an immigrant with a lengthy criminal history. Naturally, this has resulted in more arrests, more detentions, and more immigration court proceedings. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., has the experience that you need when you are facing deportation charges. We know how to gather the facts that are relevant to your case, assess your options, and determine whether you have any legal defenses that may enable you to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. Contact the Oakland immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we potentially can help you and your family through this difficult situation.