Justice Dept memo says no more coddling of unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors

There’ll be no more coddling of illegal immigrants in U.S. courts as was the norm in the Obama administration.

The Department of Justice issued new, update guidelines directing judges trying cases involving unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S. illegally to do so fairly, Reuters reported.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Judges are cautioned to be skeptical in a Dec. 20 memo, which says unaccompanied illegal alien children “generally receives more favorable treatment under the law than other categories of illegal aliens.”

Treatment than creates “an incentive to misrepresent accompaniment status or age in order to attempt to qualify for the benefits,” the memo noted.

Using language not included in the old guidelines, judges are told to be on the lookout for “fraud and abuse” in the Executive Office for Immigration Review memo.

More on the update to guidelines first established in 2007 from Reuters:

The new memo removes suggestions contained in the 2007 memo for how to conduct “child-sensitive questioning” and adds reminders to judges to maintain “impartiality” even though “juvenile cases may present sympathetic allegations.”

The new document also changes the word “child” to “unmarried individual under the age of 18” in many instances.


Another change highlighted by the news agency involves making illegal immigrant children comfortable in the courtroom.

The old guidance says they “should be permitted to explore” courtrooms and allowed to “sit in all locations, (including, especially, the judge’s bench and the witness stand),” Reuters reported.

Imagine how cumbersome this can be when, according to Homeland Security, Border Patrol apprehended a total of 59,757 unaccompanied children in 2016 alone.

The update guidance does not do away with the suggested explorations, but says this  should take place only “to the extent that resources and time permit” and specifically puts the judge’s bench off limits, according to Reuters.


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