Latimer proposes federal satellite immigration court in Westchester to help ease migrant crisis
Westchester County Executive George Latimer is reaching out to the federal government with a proposal to better manage the migrants coming into the Hudson Valley.
Latimer says since Westchester already has a federal courthouse, why not put it to good use in helping with the migrant crisis in the Hudson Valley.
The county executive is pushing to create a federal satellite immigration court in Westchester. He says that one of the issues that contributes to the immigration crisis is the huge backlog in the federal immigration courts.
This is where cases are heard that would determine whether a person qualifies for asylum status and can stay in the country.
Currently people who have entered the U.S. have court dates that are years away.
Latimer says he has written to United State Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas formally requesting that the federal court in White Plains be allowed to hear these cases, not just for Westchester but from all over the Hudson Valley.
"This would allow immigration judges to be on duty and handle those cases of individuals that may be placed in Westchester or anywhere else in the Hudson Valley and assure speedy adjudication of their cases." says Latimer.
Another issue is not having enough staff in the immigration courts, so Latimer suggests recruiting retired judges and others with legal experience just as retired doctors and nurses helped during COVID-19.
The county executive is also asking to speed up the process for work permits. The document runs anywhere from $410 to $495 and takes two to sevent months to get approved.
"There are jobs that are unfilled at the present time. Minimum paying jobs in the restaurant industry and in the gardening landscape industry, that there's a way to have people gainfully employed while they're here awaiting their resolution of their asylum case."
According to the U.S. Department of Justice website, New York has several courts for immigration hearings in Manhattan and upstate.