« Reveal

Inside Trump’s Immigration Crackdown

2017-10-28 | 🔗

Beyond the planned border wall and limits on new refugees, the federal government wants tighter restrictions on immigration to this country. On this episode of Reveal, we examine efforts throughout the U.S. to deport migrants faster, detain them longer and prevent them from obtaining visas that might offer a path to legal residency.

To explore more reporting, visit revealnews.org or find us at fb.com/ThisIsReveal, on Twitter @reveal or Instagram @revealnews.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now, for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore. We, about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it's our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
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that sex and money, the podcast from W and my c studios my show is personal interviews, often focusing on the most important relationships in our lives. This episode of reveal is about when those relationships come up against. U S. Immigration policy will hear from please and children caught in a system with shifting rules and from those in charge of, forcing those rules on the ground. We in LOS Angeles County, it's late August, just after five o clock in the morning, the inky black sky mirrors the dark store fronts of a Strip mall in the parking lot more than a half doesnt immigration agents and bulletproof best huddled fur briefing operation
thirty seven year old, one among national with prior conditions for do you. I enter a prior condition for reckless bribing agents from immigration and customs enforcement or ice happens, staking out the homes of convicted felons who are in the? U S illegally, the agents plan to arrest them when they leave their homes. Number two on the facts. People will not be a twenty year old mexican national waste from the earlier this year period. In modifying the people on today's list have criminal convictions for drunk driving sexual battery and gun possession. If the agents are able to make arrests ice will start their deportation proceedings right away river operate.
She's, like this, attract media attention and create anxiety for immigrants. Ice arrest of criminals and non criminals are up thirty five percent, since Donald Trump became president they ve happened. Restaurants corps houses, and sometimes like these early in the morning outside and emigrants home reveals Bernice Young has investigating the administrations crackdown on immigration and went along on a recent ice raid. I ride shotgun next to Jorge Field, who helps run what ice as its enforcement and removal operations, in LOS Angeles right where you are in the city of hormones in the San Fernando about its north fees, City Lawson was poor, is in his fifties. He's got Sultan
her hair and a goatee like the other agents, he sports and Navy Blue Bulletproof best with the words ice and police in big black letters. We park around from the suspects home. I grew up in a neighborhood like this, in a prison hispanic neighbourhood to him. These arrests are about protecting public safety and respecting the law on the first generation America, I bet came to this country, so it's not something we don't understand the reasons behind why they come there's just a process and how you should come. He, since everyone doesn't here like in this case. You know he was arrested for carrying a loaded firearm sure what the justice
is to say no, this person should stay in the United States. Ice agents finished. Making for arrest a few hours later. Jorge tells me what supposed to happen next. There will be taken into account depending on the processing, and everything else will depend on whether they remain in custody. Here. Whether they are released on a bond and then they we'll get an appointment to see an immigration judge. Those court appearances put the brakes on deportation more than a half million case is clog. The nations immigration courts. That means after their arrest people can wait weeks. Months or even years, to see him We judge the federal court. The handles cases for the LOS Angeles region has the second largest backlog in the country somebody's, it sounds like even his eyes. This making more arrest it's taking longer for people to get deported
right and that's a problem for President Trump he's taken a really hard stance against illegal immigration, so he has to find a way to speed up these deportations, and one way that you could do, that is to expand a policy that actually been around since one thousand nine hundred and ninety six is called expedited removal. So how has it worked up to this point? Basically kind of a fast track deportation, so immigration officials look for people at the border who don't the right documents to come into the country, and then they can basically send them back across the border straight away. Deport them immediately, no judge no hearing. How is the trouble menstruation looking to expand expedite Remember what he'd like to do is essentially take it from where its applied now, which is right near the border, one hundred miles or so from the border and for people who have been in the country for a pretty short period of time that two weeks and take it to the entire.
Country, expanded nationwide and apply to people who have been in the country for longer for up to two years, so you ve been reporting on how expedite removal works, now right, I got in a car and I drove across the border from San Diego into Tijuana ended up in a neighbourhood on a Sunday morning and it was already pretty busy in the streets. Yeah, your house's around me or concrete, with faded paint an electric garage doors, people want their dogs, industry kids and suffer uniforms, strolled practice, I'm here to meet a man will call Ernesto remembrance were changing his first name because he's worried federal agents me target his family Some members live illegally in the. U S.
Unesco has a wide face. Thick features short cropped, brown, hair and expressive brown eyes. He stopped full and soft spoken merger ruined as yet there is a permanent member of ass. Yet he says he first cross the border without a purse in ninety ninety seven around the time expedited removal became law back then it was pretty easy to walk to the border. That's what or Nestor did. Then he waited for someone to pick him up in a car from which all members in ten minutes he says he was on the other, I, three years later, he returned to his home town, their crews, Mexico, where his father was dying of cancer after the funeral earnest.
Tried to re, enter the United States in a car at the tea Wanna border crossing by then. The laws and the love of enforcement had changed reform. If ever I used the visa, it was a good one, but it wasn't mine the border inspector that out pretty fast pray. I went in the arrested me in the morning and I, at the same night around ten I didn't have a court hearing or see a judge only gave me this letter and I was deported for five years. That letter was an expedited removal order for a nest. Oh, it happened so fast. He says he didn't realize how serious it was my best and that, consequently, I didn't think of the consequences that port I understand, but I admit I just didn't know that it would affect me the smoke, yeah look order. Inspectors gave him a document to sign an english language Reed and sent him back to Mexico. It was a textbook example:
how expedited removal is supposed to work and immigration officer and a supervisor had decided on the spot, whether or not to deport, but it wasn't always this way to see how we got here. Let's turn back the clock Leslie Stall, those stories and Andy Rooney tonight on sixty minutes. It's ninety. Ninety three and the tv show sixteen minutes exposes than ever one who arrived in the: U S asking for asylum got in no questions asked every single person on the planet earth if he gets into this country and stay indefinitely by saying to magic words, political asylum. That's Dan Stein, president of the federation, for american immigration reform. From his interview with the CBS News Magazine, his organization of focus reducing immigration to this country. Once asylum speakers are released. He said many, don't you for their immigration hearings. Sixty minutes also highlighted the case of Ramsay. Youssef part
The group behind the nineteen ninety three World Trade Center bombing he had gotten into the? U S by asking for asylum, it could be a murderer. Go through three safe countries use a phoney, documented pre inspection to get on the plane flash. The documents down the toilet when you get here say political asylum, a J, F K Airport in New York City booming got your work. And you're in now. Does that really happened? Yes, it happens all the time. This story shocked viewers and policymakers. Three years late Congress passed a slate of stricter immigration laws, including expedited removal. Instead of letting plundered the country while they waited to see an immigration judge. The law granted border inspectors a new power, to immediately kick out. Anyone who didn't have a fear of returning in their home country right. Here's my office, Jessica, Vaughan I supported that move from the start of the paper everywhere lot of newspaper clippings from the
pre digital era she's with the centre for immigration studies in Washington DC. It's an influential think tank that wants to restrict immigration Jessica maintains that people who enter this country legally aren't playing by the rules if we don't remove them from Lee. Then it's an incentive for other people to try to come and take advantage of our system. The fact that it doesn't involve a judge she says is one of the benefits it doesn't make any sense. That taxpayers should have to subsidize a long drawn out proceeding for someone who was caught coming into the country illegally expedited room eliminates, eliminate that proceeding and the possibility of court challenges, except in rare cases, LOS Angeles based immigration lawyer Jennifer, rejects Ski says: that's a lot of power to give to border officers. Basically, there's an officer who acts like a judge
acts like an attorney and decides whether or not you have a legal right to be in the United States. This makes it harder for Jennifer to do our job as head of the deportation to steam for a major immigration law. Firm so and immigration judge has no authority to review and immigration officers decision to order. Someone removed acts that idly even if they look at the case and say this is a grievous. They can't do anything they can even consider it. Problems have come up. A federal commission found border agents, didn't offer some asylum seekers a chance to ask for refuge. Court records also show border officers, have deported? U S, citizens mistakes aside, there's no denying expedited is ass, a nation without board This is not a nation Today, the United Its of America gets back control
its borders gets back its borders, part of that means controlling what happens in the country. Trump also wants to expand but I did removal beyond the border, so agents could pick up people anywhere in the country. Local law enforcement agencies could too, if they have agreed to work with ice. Immigration advocates worry that at its most extreme, this could lead to a national show me your papers, atmosphere, because a department of Homeland Security is still weighing the proposal agency officials decline. To answer my questions about when an expense could mean for their operations and for immigrants. Expedited removal was supposed to discourage illegal crossings and didn't stop Ernesto hysterical for job was. I was punished for five years with the thing is I didn't respect that after agents deported Ernesto through expedited removal in ninety ninety nine they banned.
From the? U S for five years, but he's not back into the country the next day. For nearly twenty years he and his family lived in California, Ernesto and his wife had a son, a U S, citizen. He worked at an italian restaurant and became active in his catholic church over time Ernesto forgot about his expedited removal, but I student in April agents arrested him as he climbed into his truck to go to work Why? They didn't send me to see a judge. The offers a told me Have any rights the right to see it? dodge foresee lawyer. He said you have to get out for four months. Ernesto sat in Detention Centre near San Diego. While he waited to see if the government would let him stay over the summer, I supported him.
Expedited removal as fast and there are no second chances. The process is possible at the border because the courts found that constitutional rights are more limb. It there, but in the rest of the country, even People who are in the? U S illegally are entitled to what the law calls due process. In this case the To argue why they should be able to stay here, taking expedited Full nation wide would rob them of that. I don't doubt that there will be some legal challenges. That's Jessica VON of the centre for immigration studies. Again she says Congress created expedited removal and it has the right to decide how immigration proceedings go still she expects pushed back. There are a lot of groups that are opposed to immigration enforcement and that want to try to put up hurdles and landmines for ice and for the border police. Oh in any way they can expanding
But I did removal across the country raises other questions. If immigrants are deb during arrayed. How would they prove that they had been in the country from more than two years. What kind of proof with We need a lavish car. I called Claude Arnold at ice. He oversaw the largest criminal workplace investigation at an Iowa poultry processing plant in two thousand, eight and retired. After nearly thirty years with the agency, the government will discuss pending policy. So we don't know exactly what proof ice will ask for the clodagh. Some thoughts reaches apparently any kind of bills from their residence should they shoulda been paying utilities in their name. For two years I ve been working getting a paycheck for two years. Anything, but
ass. To be this satisfaction, the Astor David Martin helped draft legislation for expedited removal during the Clinton administration when he was the top lawyer for them Girl Immigration agency or person whose apparition did in in Central Virginia may not have the kind of it is easily at hand could show that, yes, I have actually been here for three or four years said the wrong people could be deported. Yes, the wrong people could be subjected. That Claude says it's not necessarily the government's problem. If emigrants don't have their documents handy, try me right so and the burdens on that none of the law requires substantial detention there's still a lot being considered by immigration officials, but there's one thing: You do know for sure, even when expedite
Removal works as it supposed to it can separate families. Although he's back in Mexico, Ernesto hasn't let go of his life in America. He shows me pictures of his kids and his church in southern California. He and his wife took several times a day on the phone. He knows, though, there is no going back crossing the border again could mean prison time, so his king, for a steady job crashing with relatives or church France. In Tijuana he make some money catering, the italian dishes. He learned to make in San Diego before I caught up with him for my visit. Ernesto prepares, three different pasta dishes of the dining room table. He and his host bless the meal before the soon,
my car right back across the border. I text Ernesto. To tell him I enjoyed the meal, he replies, he'd served his specialities and the same text. He praises God and he ends with a joke. Well, then, President Trump has just lost a good cook, President tromp isn't the only one who's leaned on expedited removal under President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security deported almost one hundred forty thousand people last year. That's about forty percent of all deportations. If trumps expansion goes through an emigrant advocacy group predicts up to one hundred. Eighty thousand more people could be deported under this process, meaning they get no chance at an appeal or to see a judge before leaving the country.
When we come back a four year old emigrant gets his day in court wrong. The record is something at this good afternoon here, listening to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and pr acts. from the centre for investigative reporting and pr Ex this is reveal. I mean a sale, hosted the podcast debt Saxon money from W in my C studios, unfilled
and four outlets in his earlier in the show, we heard how the Trump administration might expand. A policy called expedited removal to make it easier and faster to deport people despite the policies name that isn't always fast. If emigrants claim they're afraid to return to their home countries, they can be held indefinitely, while authorities decide. Their cases what happened to thirty four year old, the arena and her son Carlos we're not using their real names, because Lorraine is afraid, Emma haitian authorities will punish her for speaking about her time and attention. In August they went before immigration judge in York, Pennsylvania we're on the record is something at best. The court's audio recordings little actually good afternoon when it, then it will be on the right side of the court
a large flat screen tv shows, Lorraine and Carlo sitting at a small white table, their video conference, ten from a federal immigrant detention facility that an hour's drive from where the judge sets Carlos is four years old. His front teeth are missing and he's got a deep dimples. His head barely reaches the top of his chair. Judge Q must scope of our women's Carlos for dressing up and for slicking down his hair like bearing in mind the but you will decide whether to release the Raina and her son. The families lawyer, Bridget Cambria, tells the court she's requested their release many times, but eyes always pushes back we're completely at the behest of ice, and they have refused to release him for six hundred fifty days. For no particular reason is that six hundred fifty days nearly half of Carlos his life, ICES attorney John Staples, gives a reason. Expedited removal staples
The policy shuts families like this one out of the courts, so they shouldn't be before a judge at all responded to exploit its different. So, while the attorneys debate his freedom, Carlos, barely pays attention head down, he scribbles on a piece of paper. Until the judge interrupt some will handle the rain on Carlos, are hoping to schedule free them. We're going to tell you what happened in court that day till arena Carlos reporter LAR been shot of W H. Why why in Philadelphia was there she's been falling? m and other families in detention to try to understand why ice holds kids for months sometimes years, even though its technically illegal here's Laura
When I first talked with Carlos his mother Laurina back in March, I said: detain them for about a year and a half at the Burke's family residential centre. Seventy miles north West of Philadelphia ice doesn't let the record inside. So we talk on the phone with an interpreters, help the arena says. Visitors may not see barbed wire fences or bars on the windows, but it feels like a prison because they're always being watched and as a mother, she feels powerless. There are some days a lot of this when my cute tells me mom. Let's see let's get out of here. I want to be then he asks me: when can we leave that one does not have an answer because you don't know when son of Back wonder the place, Beijing linoleum you to be a nursing home inside the. As melt together, wake up than breakfast in the cafeteria
usually process stuff for the kids, their school the classroom wing during the spring and fall the centre piece. The adult detainees, a dollar a day to do manual, work like cleaning the common rooms at night guards checked the bedrooms. Every fifteen minutes shining their flashlights over the families as many as three families share each bedroom to lift their spirits. On the other. Women created a ritual ten, a M prayer service in the detentions small chapel? They did leave angelic, and I think that if I didn't look for God like I do every day here, it would be hard to go on Laurina started leading the daily worship service after I supported the woman who used to do it. In some ways, Lorraine, US path from Honduras to the United States was typical. She Carlos fled
again threatened them and preferment. They started to break in and take my stuff. The truth is that sometimes simply by being a single mother, you become an easy target for them. They requested asylum. The first part of that process is an interview. The monthly Raina and Carlos arrived. Nearly eighty percent of people got through that test and continued to the next stage. This is where their story that's way less typical Laurina says the officers who assessed her claim were openly sceptical at the heart of every head on. They told me, though, make up stories because they don't believe they don't believe what's happening in a country. By the asylum officer deny Laurina claim on the first go round, cases that would have meant deportation to Honduras. In their case, The american Civil Liberties Union stepped in its saw
happened as part of a disturbing trend, the federal government region Ding, valid asylum claims and decided to fight it. On Behalf of Laurina Carlos and about thirty other mothers and children. The I see how you see the federal government to try to get a second look at their asylum claims that was in twenty fifteen Carlo. Barely three when he and his mother arrived turned for years old inside the Burke's family, residential centre Family detention. Isn't supposed to stretch on and on the way, there's has that's because of a big class action set, from the mid nineteen nineties, where the government agreed to treat detained, kids humanely, keep their detention short during. The Obama administration. I tried to get around that agreement. It began holding kid by themselves and kids with their parents much longer than before. As fair
they detentions in Pennsylvania, stretched into weeks, then months, then more than a year, local advocacy groups and holding monthly protests outside the centres. Fees U S. Senators wrote letters urging the Department of Homeland Security to release the families. Global here rights. Organizations condemned the. U S over family detention. One reason for all this criticism there is evidence that living in detention is by itself bad for children, psychotherapist cat Miller is one of several who visits the Burke Centre to evaluate detainees when their lawyers request it she's met with a half dozen kids there. One seven year. Old symptoms have really stuck with her any time any kind of trauma discussion happened. He would run,
lapse around the tiny table we sat at and then jump up and flapped the wall really loudly. You know that right there, oh, oh, it's so common for it's. This kind of distraction is a classic sign of post, traumatic stress disorder in kids, Cathy says, and this boys, mother said that over and over he wrapped lanyard around his neck like a noose and said he wanted to kill himself. Cathy drew out that he was terrified of returning to El Salvador, where gangs had targeted his father and he'd, seen the bodies of family friends they killed by Cathy's second visit. Been there for a year and a half she said he'd, gotten, worse, not better. There is direct correlation between the length of time that it I always in detention and worsening symptoms. I stopped that boy and his mother in May. As for Carlos, he cries Alot hee hee
It's under the bed, when kids he's gotten close to are released or deported, and outside psychologist never evaluated M by Lorraine. I did see one who diagnosed her with depression in that evaluation, Laurina admitted she sometimes thinks about killing herself in the a dozen years at least seven people and ice detention have committed suicide over the phone. Laurina tells me feeling, anxious bands, ok distress, I have gained a lot of weight. Can sleep at night there's an in how psychologist at Burke's Laurina says she doesn't trust him that distrust carries over to other problems in court doc. You the women in the Burke Centre complained. The staff and nurses routinely downplayed their medical concerns like the parasite and painful cavities that bothered Carlos
Marina says he suffered for awhile before getting treatment Africa. I think what form one of these three to four months. It has been for a few days, then sky, then come back. Officials with ice, wouldn't talk me for this story, but they did right responses to some of my questions in a statement and age, Gee spokesman, said and comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment the families arrive throughout their entire stay at the center. Immigration, lawyers and other advocates brought detainees, complaints to a Burke's county commissioners meeting last year, speaking, medical issues during the public comment period, attorney. Caroline Donna HO recited a list of problems. We have a distinction at birth of heaven, the only real conviction. The three family detention Centres- Burke's county, wants to keep the centre open ice pays the county to run it day to day,
in return, the region gets more than sixty jobs and the county government pulls in an extra million dollars a year in revenue county. Commissioner, Kevin Barnhardt told the audience. The detainees, complaints don't tell the whole story. These medical care, dental here, psychological care, we have been inspected for any facility, and the commonwealth of the last two years This meeting ended abruptly when the commissioners and the lawyers began shouting at each other, you're probably ways you're beyond Burke's county ice is responsible for dealing with an influx of families and unaccompanied kids from Central America. Detention is part of its strategy, their works we made as a deterrent,
Joe Salamis retired, from ice he supervised Burke Centre when it first opened more than a decade ago. He says officials want people in detention to tell relatives back home how hard it is to get into this country. It hoped to get on the farcical ponderous, potent people, down our motto: Brian of former attorney for ice offers another reason for family detention. It keeps people in one location, law, the federal government ways their asylum claims. If I, has to go looking for people at drastically reduces the number of people at its able to remove from the? U S in a timely fashion. These days, Matt works for fair. Lobbying to restrict all immigration to the Eu S. Some affairs leaders have tie to wait. Supremacists. When President Trump took office, he appointed fares executive director to a top posts in: U S, customs and border protection. The Trump administration wants immigrant detention
after years of court battles this summer, federal judges ruled that ice can't automatically detain kids for so long and if ice wouldn't free them, they could go before an immigration judge This is what Laurina and Carlos had waited for, and it's what landed them in that court hearing we heard at the beginning of the story. So after them, funny summit furthest alone. I'm gonna does yes, yes during attention. Carlos had received a special visa just for kids that creates a path for him to stay in the country. But there's no guarantee his mom can stay after he sifted through all the legal arguments, the judge invited Carlos to Chinese in one's own on them. Can I really is as follows: it is not easy to find bearing of sport. Has jurisdiction over us
the serious and bombings minor. I find that responded should their studies on the cognisance, the judge release them. Both he's gonna release a mother to accompany the respondent arena, grabbed free tissue fire? You understand that thank you. Thank you. Thank you. They left the Burke Centre that same day that night they celebrate with pizza, incarnates Sata at a mexican restaurant. A couple of months after their release. I visited Lorraine and Carlos, where they live now in Indianapolis, this year? two story house with a family, they knew from Honduras. The family supports them
laurina waits for the governments, permission to work show me their new room in the basement. Joking, it's too messy for pictures. Look no come on now there's a mound of cartoon character, blankets on the bed small refrigerator in some dirty laundry cascading from a hamper, most importantly She says: there's privacy. Nobody else comes there very unhappy and we follow meal I wish close to his mom playing a game on a tab that burrowing, under the blankets and squealing dish the same good humour, but also lingering effects and detention wonderfully. When I first left a detention center, I was so very confused and leave it was are to put everything in order. In my mind, Laurina lifts the leg of her pink genes to reveal a black plastic ankle, monitor
that I feel good here. I really do, but I am always being watched that keeps her from feeling truly free. Carlos acts like a goofy sometimes, but his mood swings are intense, hey, Think it has to do with the detention before he cried a lot now. It's changing to anger, that's not all they have to contend with. The rainbows creation status is in limbo. She doesn't have a good case for legal residence in this country and since their release ice has appealed to a higher court, arguing that but I did removal means they should be detained again that quota. It makes me angry if we were locked up for twenty two months and there still fighting for us not to be free
ice agents could rearrest, Laurina and Carlos at any time and put them right back in the Burke Centre. That story from W H. Why wise Laura bench off with reveal producer Laura STAR Chaskey? What happened next to Lorraine and Carlos depends on what the court's decide, but I has stopped holding families at Burke's for long stretches. In the meantime, many other people continue to arrive in the. U S fleeing the kinds of circumstances, this family dead plummet, one of them when we come back you're listening to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and key are acts from the centre of investigative reporting and p asks. This is reveal I'm Anna sail in for lessened this hour
examining policies that affect millions of people live illegally in the United States? This next story is about kids and teenage those who arrive in the: U S alone, the law caused them unaccompanied minors. In the last four years, almost too, hundred thousand of them have shown up without their parents to the southern border of the. U S, as their under eighteen. It's not always immigration court that decide to their fate. Sometimes it's family court, where they face, judge Who normally handled custody battles were local child abuse cases reporter Ashley Clique Winter Florida and met some of those judge through a deciding whether a child from far away has the right to stay in the. U S, as a state of eels. Judge Frank Shepherd cultivated a reputation for gruff this severity imperiousness play it, this fund now tat. He got a little fun in life, his rap isn't into an end when he
meat for an interview. The better and judge carries a highlighted copy of the. U S: constitution he's in a seven these with white hair and bushy eyebrows, shepherd retired from the bench last year. Now he works at a private law firm in my ear, he says he liked. His old view from on high rate could peer down at our below and look at the statutes, look at the rules and apply them. Whether I agree with them or not separate, heard a lot of He says and wrote a lot of opinions, I'm interest in the series of cases that reached his bench. A couple of years ago, opinions he agreed with they involved, dangers without travel documents, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The dean its streamed across the? U S border. In the summer of twenty fourteen and twenty fifteen These kids saw protection from state courts, so they could apply for a special visa. It was meant to protect minors whose parents had a and then the bees were neglected them in their home countries?
Wednesday court judges started denying these cases the kids, to a higher court. Their cases ended up in front of Shepherd good morning. Your honor you are seeking. You are seeking something. This is from archive video of a twenty fifteen case in front of floored as third district court of appeals and immigration. Represents her arguments before three judge panel, framed by a backdrop of american flags, Shepherd Mass chief judge sits in the middle seat and as most of the talking he needles, the lawyer with rhetorical question. There is this place up there in Washington DC and there is a big dome on. It's called the United States Congress and you could go up there and get statute change. Could you yes, people, but its law? easier. If that's the whole lot less expensive, EU cheese? Allow were asking you to finalize the lawyers asking this panel to overrule lower courts. Verdict find her clients
been abandoned, abused or neglected and declare him dependent on the state of Florida. Her seventy Euro client arrived in this country four years ago, when he was a baby dad abandon him in Honduras. Now he lives it is mom in Florida. If Shepherd approves this guy, is the young man can take the court's declaration and apply for this special visa that'll prevent his deportees. Honduras or he has no close family the judges decision will also determine how Laura Court should rule on these cases. Shepherd tells me most. Commissioners, for these visas are not really kids there. Almost adults should do I might say: well, I'm not abused, abandoned, neglected myself Forty five year old mother can no longer take care of me When I find my way over, wasn't that's true or not. Is pretty hard to determine and Salvador elsewhere. The door, Guatemala, the retired.
Judge, contends these cases based on circumstances he's heard over and over clog the courts and strain social services agencies. Shepherd says date. Laws about protecting kids, weren't meant for this They exist to protect and serve. Provide. Benefits too tens of thousands of people generally under the age of eighteen and state who have been truly abandoned, abused or neglected, and I said this debt She does not exist to serve those with a different agenda. That agenda. He maintains its safety, but immigration shepherd deny this. And for others and twenty fifteen and twenty sixteen, He wrote that the abandonment happen too far. In the past the petition
There's were nearly eighteen and they work being abused right now. From that point on, when similar cases came before lower court judges, even some who had ruled in the kids favour but looked shepherds rulings and turn them down. Lawyers are pretty shocked because they say that's not how this law was supposed to work, didn't get created because a bunch of kids fled in twenty fourteen and twenty fifteen. It's been, the losses and ninety ninety, MRS Anna We hear a lawyer in Miami over the years. Helped. A lot of young people apply for this special visa. Just as the EU This doesn't just hand them out to everyone and we set up a set of requirements that I think are pretty heavy to qualify.
Says: applicants have to run along bureaucratic relay race between state and federal courts. First, a kid has to ask the federal courts to hold off on deportation proceedings, because here she might qualify for the special visa. Then you go to the state court. Indifferent states is different courts. Maybe you're in the dependency court may be called the children's court. Maybe it's called the family court means the problem court. You have to show them a document that explains what happened in your home country and why you're afraid to go back if the state judge approves the petition the kid whose back to federal immigration authorities and says here's my documentation, that's not even it. When you're done with that, they then have to approve the documentation and make a decision on this so it's not just an easy wave in some years ago. Any court in Florida might handle two of these petitions at most It was an unusual for judges to approve them. Then came twenty fourteen that year
then fifty seven thousand emigrant kids showed up alone at the southern border. The federal office Fiji resettlement place thousands of them with relatives in Florida whenever it She for visas in court houses throughout that state judges started to wonder allowed. Why is this or any emigrant kids case in my court, You can tell they were uncomfortable. It was like asking them to do a job that they are not supposed to be doing. Base a flood of new petitions, Florida judges, big, and to deny them. They argued that the kids had no evidence of that whose happen too long ago, or that a kid couldn't be abandoned if he'd never met his father. Judges really started to think about. Is this the purpose of this Angelo says: berries and immigration
is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security, and the truth is the federal government has decided. It is absolutely the purpose of the Miami court to protect abused, neglected and abandoned children in if it period she it shouldn't matter if the kids from gains Ville or Guatemala as the number these petitions spiked in some Florida counties, so did judges denials by twenty. Sixteen following shepherds decision data shows that courts handled far fewer of these cases and granted fewer petitions after the appeals court decisions. Angela says many judges refuse to hear these cases. A feeling among lawyers was that, if you bring a petition, it will be dismissed out of hand. More than a year later, the States Supreme Court overturned shepherds rolling Angeles as well courts. Hearing these kids cases again, judges still routinely deny their petitions. This
is the legal and political situation a seventeen year old, named essayist, walked into last December when he landed uncles House in Florida. Judges in that state had heard stories like his more times than they could count recalling desires values. First name: isn't it minor in a difficult legal situation, Ices from Guatemala submit over five feet tall with dimples and floppy black hair U S! Government deported gang members back to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They took over towns like one, we're OSIRIS lived ass. He walked back and forth to school. He says he ignored them. They mostly left allow me to until about a year ago when he turned seventeen I am still learning English. So is more comfortable telling me this part in spanish, good Nicky Data may as one that when they start to stop me and say that I would have to join up right. Yeah yeah s comment. Wasn't I get my other threats escalated
gang member smashed is older sisters, foot with Iraq as I as reported the attack, but the police did nothing so, as I am asked his mom what should gale- and this is me Mamma metallurgical- they knew again tat. She had been to the U S before, so she told me the best you can go there there it's differently for you there you will study, you will be the person that you wanna, be that's a pretty good too, as I ass. He wanted to finish high school. But a college get a job. His mother said that was more likely to happen in the: U S: soul,. Emily paid a man about two hundred and seventy five dollars to show? Is I as the way north, he rode buses to Mexico and swam to the? U S side of the Rio Grande. Shortly after he arrived? U S. Border patrol agents picked up the teen and placed him in detention facility. Eventually, authority sent him to live with his mother's brother. There is more to this
kid story than the threat of game, violence and court documents. He describes how his dad's alcoholism wrecked the family, five years ago as eyes. His dad walked out and didn't return There are certain stories that you here Just can't be made up in his was one of them this his eyes, his lawyer, Angelina Castro. She works on immigration cases along florid as EAST Coast and it is ass. She knew judges were denying these petitions, especially for kids, like essay s who were seventeen. She also knew the juvenile protection visa was a is best option, so she held her thumb and pointer like an inch apart and told him. We have this much this much time to do something with your case. But if you want to try it, I think it's worth it, and if it was and if I had the money, I would do it his eyes. His uncle fixes air conditioners. He does like a lot of money, but he's paying
thousand dollars for his nephews legal costs, besides understands understand that judges and some people listening to his story might not believe he deserves to stay in Florida, they never been there, but he has any says. That's good, though you fuckin in obtaining this material on this issue that we have to look at that They don't need to go somewhere else. We, I would ask them not to discriminate into three other people, well, after we talk for more than an hour is, I must admit, how reluctant he was to tell his story Lou here only going through the open, I told my uncle. I didn't want to do it. He explains don't want anyone to confuse his story with a sad stories of thought thousands of other emigrant kids method of commodity but here the apple dogmatic on most of what I mean by being the order is lacking. Meaning the head of apple. I want my dad
my mom, to be proud of me. First down, there's a court date get pass. He's never stood before a judge. Errors are as nervous as he is because The judges on the EAST coast of Florida habitually deny these petitions, especially from me, Well, I guess I is were almost eighteen, Angelina an attorney in Tampa to take her clients case on Monday, in June, a science in his uncle DR three hours across the state for a two minute hearing. Family court. I join them at the courthouse by officials. Wont. Let me into the hearing to record so I wait outside in the hallway. When I walk out, they look confused his uncles, as the judge asked him a few questions than added in Spanish.
Via Conduce go with guide. This judge signed assizes petition. Now he can apply for the special visa. That's Mature, doesn't protect, desires from deportation or afford him. Any rights just allows him to take the next step towards becoming a legal resident. It also means someone with cloud in this country leaves him Other states are dealing with unaccompanied minors differently than Florida. Maryland has expanded the eligible aged twenty one, so more kids can apply for the juvenile protection visa so has New York. Is I yes in his lawyer, applied for that visa just before he turned eighteen, it may take a year for them to hear back, because the federal government is currently about two years behind on processing applications
our lead producers for this week, show where Laura STAR Chaskey and Fernanda Comer, Dana Cheryl D I'll edited our show special thanks to reporter Andy. Back an editor Andy Donoghue for their help. Our partner this week was W h. Why? Why in Philadelphia, our lead, sound designer and engineer is Jim Briggs. He had help this week from Clare Molen, Catherine Raimondo and Catch shook necked, Amy Pie, is our editor in Chief Suzanne Reaper is our exit, He'd have editor and our executive producer is Kevin Sullivan. Our theme, music, is by Colorado. Lightning reporting for the juvenile visa story was supported by freelance investigative reporters and editors and its virtual, through support for reveal is provided by the River and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D and Catherine T Macarthur Foundation, the job
S and James, I might foundation the hiding Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence and journalism foundation reveal is a co production of the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs. I may add a sale outlets and we'll be back next week. These are last few shows of the year and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal, is all about going deep, pulling on threads, telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.