More US prosecutors, judges added for immigration cases

Chris Carlson  AP

Chris Carlson AP

Officials were not able to confirm the number at this time.

Rodriguez was among the many migrants of the caravan who told Reuters they were forced from their homes by Central America's brutal Mara street gangs, along with other life-threatening situations.

She said the asylum seekers will then undergo a "credible fear interview", conducted by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer, to determine if they face real danger in their home country. Speaking to reporters, he told the migrants to stop coming over illegally.

Dozens of Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans slept a third night outside a USA port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico, after traveling in a caravan across Mexico to seek asylum in the United States.

The Justice Department has charged 11 people related to crossing the border illegally that it says are suspected members of the caravan, but the vast majority of the migrants are waiting at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California to make a legal claim of the fear of persecution once they reach the checkpoint. If they pass initial screenings by asylum officers, they may be detained or released with ankle monitors while their cases wind through immigration court, which can take years. "It's not my problem, it's not the US border control's problem when people try to force their way into the country unlawfully".

But the tougher challenge comes later, when they face an immigration judge for a final ruling.

The United States is sending 35 assistant USA attorneys and 18 immigration judges to the Mexican border to deal with a surge in illegal immigrants trying to enter the country, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday.

US Customs and Border Protection said it processed hundreds of asylum-seekers in the previous week, many of them Mexican, which contributed to a bottleneck that led inspectors to turn away caravan members since they arrived late on Sunday afternoon.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he's sending prosecutors and immigration judges to the border to address the caravan migrants. "So we're sending a message worldwide". The judges are being relocated from the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).

To deal with an already existing backlog of cases, 18 supervising immigration judges are being assigned to hear cases in immigration courts near the border, both in person and through video teleconferencing.

EOIR Director James McHenry said in a written statement, "We must not let attempts to undermine our lawful immigration system deter that progress, and the men and women at EOIR are proud to play a small role in the Attorney General's response to the crisis at our Southwest border".

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