Federal judge in Arizona says courts not equipped for more border cases

May 10, 2018, 12:00 PM

PHOENIX — The U.S. attorney general announced this week that anyone caught crossing the border illegally would be detained and referred for prosecution, but a federal district court judge in Arizona said there’s one major problem.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins said the courts in Arizona were already working at capacity and can’t handle more prosecutions.

“We don’t have the staff,” he said. “We don’t have the personnel. We don’t have the room to be able to do anything more than we’re doing right now with regards to these type of cases.”

Collins said federal prosecutors in Arizona are struggling to keep up with the case load. They’re getting about 75 cases involving unauthorized U.S.-Mexico border crossings per day.

Speaking outside an immigration enforcement center in San Diego on Monday, Sessions issued a blunt warning to immigrants who try to cross the border illegally.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

He said the Department of Homeland Security would be referring all unauthorized border crossings for prosecution and that the Department of Justice would take up the cases.

Sessions also said he was sending 35 prosecutors to the Southwest, including six for Arizona, and moving 18 immigration judges to the border.

“These are supervisory judges that don’t have existing caseloads and will be able to function full time on moving these cases,” he said, adding there would be a 50 percent increase in the number of immigration judges.

But Collins said he hasn’t seen any help from the feds yet.

“We haven’t been given one extra judge, one extra clerk, not even one extra paper clip at this point,” he said.

Collins said additional resources as well as bigger buildings also were needed.

“We only have so much room, and it’s full,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 85-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A Silver Alert was issued for an 85-year-old man with a medical condition last seen in Phoenix.

7 hours ago

Desert Ridge Marketplace place will be almost fully leased with the addition of four new tenants in...

Kevin Stone

Sephora, country bar among latest Desert Ridge Marketplace additions

Desert Ridge Marketplace place will be almost fully leased with the addition of four new tenants in the next year.

7 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Brandon Gray

Phoenix police seek public input on updated Use of Force draft policy

The Phoenix Police Department has updated its Use of Force draft policy and is asking the public and employees for more input.

7 hours ago

(Flickr Photo/ADOT)...

East Valley drivers to be hit hard with weekend freeway closures

Drivers in the East Valley will be the most prone to weekend freeway closures, according to state transportation officials.

7 hours ago

(Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images and Facebook Photo/Gilbert Farmers Market)...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for June 9-11

Looking for something to do this weekend? There's national outlet shopping day, farmers markets and events celebrating Pride month.

7 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

Over 100 firefighters battle large pallet fire in south Phoenix

Firefighters battled a large massive pallet fire Thursday night in south Phoenix, the Phoenix Fire Department said.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Spinal fusion surgery has come a long way, despite misconceptions

As Dr. Justin Field of the Desert Institute for Spine Care explained, “we've come a long way over the last couple of decades.”

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...

Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.

Federal judge in Arizona says courts not equipped for more border cases