The president of the National Association of Immigration Judges on Thursday called on the Trump administration to provide accurate data to judges in order to "to make decisions affecting real people in our courtrooms" after a report found that illegals could wait four years to schedule asylum hearings.
"The United States needs a fact-based immigration court system," said the group's president Ashley Tabaddor, who is a federal immigration judge in Los Angeles. "This cannot be achieved if we do not have the data and the facts straight.
"The Supreme Court has made important rulings based on [Executive Office of Immigration Review] data that has turned out to be inaccurate and miscalculated.
"Similar data issues are also plaguing our judges who are subjected to arbitrary quotas and deadlines, which compromise due process rights of the parties before the court," Tabaddor said.
The judges' union was founded in 1971.
Syracuse University last month reported that caseloads of immigration court judges continue to grow, creating waits as long as four years for some aliens to just schedule an asylum hearing.
Examining the Justice Department's EOIR data, Syracuse's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found the average wait time to for scheduling a hearing was 1,450 days.
Backlogs have grown steadily since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, the report found.
In her statement, Tabaddor said the TRAC data confirmed "the experience of our judges, who find time and again that DOJ's recent data does not match the reality we see in our courtrooms.
"This is not a dispute about numbers on a spreadsheet," she said. "It's about getting the facts we need to make decisions affecting real people in our courtrooms.
"Missing or garbled data is unacceptable and the Department of Justice needs to fix this problem right away."
Tabaddor's call came as The Associated Press reported that U.S. ambassadors from Central America and Haiti pleaded with the Trump administration through urgent cables in early 2017 to not send as many as 400,000 migrants back to their home countries.
Ambassadors from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti sent the cables in the early days of the Trump White House — and the internal State Department documents were made public Thursday in a report by congressional Democrats.
Amid legal challenges, the Trump administration later withdrew from its hardline position and last month it extended protections for at least a year as U.S. courts work through the disputes, the AP reports.
In January 2017, President Trump declared that 11 million aliens in the U.S. would be targeted for detentions and deportation, including legals who had previously committed a crime but had not been arrested.
The number included 400,000 Central Americans and Haitians living under temporary protected status (TPS).
The cables backed the position of the State Department's most-senior career diplomat at the time, then-Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, the AP reports.
He argued unsuccessfully that stripping away TPS for the migrants would destabilize the region and damage the U.S.' standing in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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