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Friday, May 26, 2017

Trump has done more for illegal immigrant children in two weeks than Obama did in two years, claims immigration lawyer

Robert Kolken said that a Justice Department memorandum issued after Trump took office ended the Obama-era practice of prioritizing unaccompanied children for deportation. Above, a Border Patrol agent and child in Texas. AGENCIES
Robert Kolken said that a Justice Department memorandum issued after Trump took office ended the Obama-era practice of prioritizing unaccompanied children for deportation. Above, a Border Patrol agent and child in Texas. AGENCIES

President Trump has done more for illegal immigrant children in two weeks than President Obama did in two years, a prominent immigration lawyer has claimed.

Robert Kolken said that a Justice Department memorandum issued after Trump took office ended the Obama-era practice of prioritizing unaccompanied children for deportation.

Kolken said that he thought that the President 'has a heart' when it comes to children who cross the border from Mexico on their own.

Kolken called for a reexamination of President Obama's record on immigration and said that Democrats were guilty of 'unbridled hypocrisy' for criticizing President Trump when his predecessor was so harsh on migrants.

Despite remaining popular among Latinos, President Obama deported more people than any other president, earning him the nickname 'Deporter in Chief' among critics and activists.

According to government data some 2.5 million people were kicked out of the country between 2009 and 2015 during the Obama Presidency.

One of the most controversial programs was a memorandum from March 2015 which prioritized the fast-tracking of cases for children and families which became known as the 'rocket docket'.

According to a report from Syracuse University, in New York, nearly 40,000 immigration cases used this system and 43 per cent were children who did not have access to a lawyer.

On January 31st after Trump became the president, that was changed.

The memorandum was signed off by MaryBeth Keller, the chief immigration judge for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and said that unaccompanied children are 'no longer the highest docketing and processing priority'.

Kolken, an immigration lawyer and the managing partner of Kolken & Kolken, located in Buffalo, New York, said that the memorandum meant that children 'are being put to the back of the line for scheduling of cases'.

He told DailyMail.com: 'This means that it could be quite a long time before they have to have a hearing before a judge.

'Maybe the President has a heart when it comes to unaccompanied children. There's no other explanation'.

He added: 'President Trump in two weeks has already done more for unaccompanied refugee children than Obama did in two years'.

Kolken said Obama's prioritization of unaccompanied children for deportation was 'easily the most inhumane immigration law in the last 20 years'.

He said: 'Democrats who are horrified (at Trump) could allow President Obama to act in the most unlawful way out of any president I have seen in my lifetime'.

Trump has made immigration a key theme of his Presidency and has promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico, which the Mexicans will pay for.

He tried to bring in a travel ban on seven Muslim majority nations but it was stayed by federal judges after a chaotic roll-out.

Trump has said that he will not take the case to the Supreme Court but is working on a new order.

Bill Stock, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that the memorandum showed that the Department of Justice 'anticipates a lot more people coming into the court system'.

He said that, faced with limited capacity for holding immigrants in detention facilities, they could be calculating that unaccompanied children who are being looked after by family members are not going to be a burden.

Amy Fischer, policy director of Texas-based immigrant rights group RAICES, said that she was 'cautiously optimistic' about the memorandum.

She said: 'We have a lot of conversations and a lot of lawyers looking at that memorandum and trying to find nefarious aspects with regard to unaccompanied children.

'We don't expect the Trump administration to do anything nice towards immigrants.

'We are cautiously optimistic but this left us with more questions than answers.


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