The Trump administration's crackdown on immigration is often in the news these days, but most of the news coverage is focused on the border with Mexico. Getting less national media attention is a crackdown on asylum seekers here in Miami.
Miami's immigration court has been one of the toughest in the nation for asylum seekers. One local publication described the court as a "well-oiled deportation machine."
Critics say immigration officials have targeted asylum-seeking families who are in the United States while waiting for a hearing. According to critics, the court has been putting these families on a "rocket docket," so that their cases move through the court system at an accelerated pace.
Critics say the court quickly orders hearings for these families and then orders deportation if any of them fail to appear in court. The court is required to give written notice to these asylum seekers so that they know when to appear in court, but critics say many of these letters go to the wrong address, or don't give the immigrant enough time to prepare. Some are sent to immigrants in a language they can't read.
In almost 90% of the cases where the immigrant does not show up for a hearing, the Miami court has ordered deportation.
However, an immigrant's chances are much better when they are represented by an immigration attorney. Lawyers can help families understand their rights and the procedures that can make the immigration process easier. These are tough times for people seeking legal immigration into the United States, and it's important for immigrant families to get help from a professional.