Federal judge ‘weary’ of immigration crackdown, says it 'destroys families'

Federal judge ‘weary’ of immigration crackdown, says it 'destroys families'

A federal judge in New Mexico said he is "weary" of an ongoing immigration crackdown that he says "destroys" families.

Robert Brack, who has sentenced upwards of 15,000 defendants — the majority of whom were immigrants with little or no criminal record — told the Los Angeles Times that he was tired of presiding over a policy that separates families.

"I have presided over a process that destroys families for a long time, and I am weary of it," Brack said. "And I think we as a country are better than this."


Federal judges in the border area of New Mexico have strictly enforced immigration laws, meaning the courts seek criminal charges against immigrants in the country illegally rather than dealing with cases administratively.

Judges have enforced Attorney General Jeff Session’s “zero tolerance” policy that calls for all immigrants crossing the border illegally to be charged with a crime.

The New Mexico “fast-track” system and the manageable level of immigrants crossing through New Mexico allow for nonviolent migrants to be prosecuted quickly.

"It is an efficient process," U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico John Anderson told the Los Angeles Times. "That is one of the key features that allows us to implement 100 percent prosecutions."

Brack ranked first among 680 judges nationwide for his caseload from 2012-2017, sentencing 6,858 offenders, 5,823 of them for felony immigration violations, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Still, Brack said he faces a moral dilemma reconciling his oath to the law with his discomfort in participating in a system he views as unjust.

"I get asked the question, 'How do you continue to do this all day every day?' I recognize the possibility that you could get hard-edged, you could get calloused, doing what I do," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't. Every day it's fresh. I can't look a father and a husband in the eye and not feel empathy."

Brack’s comments came two days before Trump called for an end to his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.