Former ICE chief: Hire more immigration judges

A former ICE chief says there’s a clear solution to the immigration crisis and it starts with hiring more immigration judges.

John Sandweg, who served as the acting director of ICE under the Obama administration, told Hill.TV’s “Rising” that the move wouldn’t be a particularly popular platform for lawmakers to run on, but it would be effective.

“Nobody’s going to get elected saying 'I’m going to solve the border crisis by hiring a lot of immigration judges,' but the simple reality is…hire more immigration judges” Sandweg said.

President Obama expanded the family detention capacity by adding another 2,000 beds to detention facilities in the U.S. Sandweg argued that this strategy gets expensive.

“To have a family detention bed is about $250 to $450 a night..per individual in the family,” Sandweg told Hill.TV.

Sandweg added that the key to addressing families separated at the border during prosecution proceedings and the enormous backlog of immigration cases is speed.

“You can have speed without detention centers, you just need to hire double, triple the size of the immigration court,” he said.

In June, President Trump pushed back against efforts to hire more immigration judges to address the influx of migrants arriving at the Mexico-U.S. border.

“Ultimately, we have to have a real border – not judges,” Trump said.

The number of immigration cases have been on the rise since 2016. There are now more than 700,000 pending immigration cases, according to Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration database. The database tracks U.S. federal immigration enforcement.

— Tess Bonn