Docket review pulls curtain back on procedure by Homeland Security
By SUSAN CARROLL
In the month after Homeland Security officials started a review of Houston’s immigration court docket, immigration judges dismissed more than 200 cases, an increase of more than 700 percent from the prior month, new data shows.
The number of dismissals in Houston courts reached 217 in August — up from just 27 in July, according to data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which administers the nation’s immigration court system.
In September, judges dismissed 174 pending cases — the vast majority involving immigrants who already were out on bond and had cases pending on Houston’s crowded downtown court docket, where hearings are now being scheduled into 2012. Roughly 45 percent of the 350 cases decided in that court in September resulted in dismissals, the records show…
…The dismissals essentially mean that officials are no longer actively trying to remove defendants through the immigration court system, though they can refile such charges at a later date. The dismissals do not convey any kind of legal status, so recipients remain illegal immigrants and cannot work legally in the U.S.
But critics still charge that the dismissals show the government is not enforcing the law.
"When you have this kind of mass dismissal, it sends a very clear message to illegal immigrants, and to society at large, that the government is not serious about enforcing the laws," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for stricter border controls.
"This type of action muddles the message so both the public at large as well as illegal immigrants don’t know what to think."
Nothing like enforcing the laws. So when you hear how we’ve increased the number of arrest remember that doesn’t mean we’ve removed the illegals.