This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.
Bill Would Add Judgeships, Ultimately Aid Border Courts
Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM), with co-sponsors Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and
John Cornyn (R-TX), last month introduced S. 3773, a bill that would increase
the number of federal judgeships in districts that have "an extraordinarily high
immigration caseload." The bill defines high immigration caseload as a district
court in which the criminal immigration filings totaled more than 50 percent of
all criminal filings for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2004.
"I believe it is imperative to equip all of our federal agencies with the
assets they need to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws,"
Domenici said. "That includes equipping our U.S. district courts with enough
judges to handle the criminal immigration cases that appear on their dockets."
He warned that the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in May fails
to recognize that repeat immigration law violators can be charged with a felony
and tried in U.S. courts. "We need to increase the number of judges in our
district courts that handle such cases, particularly in those districts that are
already overwhelmed with immigration cases," he said.
Four Southwest border districts meet S. 3773's fiscal year 2004 caseload
criteria: the District of Arizona, the Southern District of California, the
District of New Mexico, and the Southern District of Texas. The Judicial
Conference has recommended creating 11 new district judgeships, nine permanent
and two temporary, in these districts.
"Based on these caseloads," Domenici said, "I think we should already be
giving these districts new judgeships. But to increase our border security and
immigration enforcement efforts without equipping these courts to handle the
even larger immigration caseloads that they are expected to face would be
tantamount to willful negligence."