#TGIF — Immigration Updates Before the Weekend

Austin Kocher, PhD
4 min readMay 13, 2022

It’s Friday! But before you check out of the week, read (or skim) these really important announcements in the immigration world.

Table of Contents

  1. No Vetted Director at ICE for Over Five Years
  2. Public defenders are now handling deportation cases in Cook County
  3. Russian Military is Deporting Ukrainians During the War
  4. Hundreds of people waiting outside Orlando immigration facility hoping to book appointments
  5. Please Check Out My Interview with Frank News about Asylum
  6. My Upcoming Talk at UC San Diego

No Vetted Director at ICE for Over Five Years

It has been 1,937 days, 64 months, or 5.3 years since Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has had a real Senate-confirmed director.

No ICE director was officially confirmed during the entire Trump administration. The current ICE Director, Tae Johnson, was not confirmed by Congress.

Biden has nominated Sheriff Gonzalez from Houston, Texas, to take on this role, but Congress has failed to take action. The most recent news on the hold-up was that “Senate Democrats withdrew the procedural motion to advance Gonzalez’s nomination after a Republican senator from Oklahoma brought up an alleged domestic complaint” (see the article here). Gonzalez has denied any wrongdoing.

The last Congressionally-confirmed director was Sarah Saldaña who was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate.

Public defenders are now handling deportation cases in Cook County

Immigrants who are facing deportation in Cook County, Illinois, have a new resource: access to attorneys. This is a big deal, and here’s why.

As you may already know, there are about 1.8 million immigrants facing deportation within the immigration court system in this country. But unlike people facing criminal charges in the criminal justice system, immigrants are allowed to hire an attorney but they are not provided an attorney if they cannot afford one. (FYI: the case that required defendants to be provided attorneys was called Gideon v Wainwright.)

The reason this matters is that academic research has repeatedly found that access to an attorney makes a…

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Austin Kocher, PhD

I study America’s immigration enforcement system. Assistant Professor at TRAC. Graduate of OSU Geography. Online at austinkocher.com.