“A federal immigration judge says his priority when dealing with traumatized children facing deportation is to create a kinder, gentler courtroom,” reports Verena Dobnik from the Associated Press.
New York’s assistant chief immigrant judge, Robert Weisel, told a City Council hearing Monday that he takes off his black robes and speaks to young children from the bench in a more casual tone.
‘Our objective is to lower the level of anxiety, lower the level of fear, because after all, when you see someone in a black robe, it’s very scary,’ the judge said.
Weisel testified before the council’s Committee on Immigration, which is assessing the needs of children smuggled into the United States from Central America. The cases of more than 1,100 of them are pending before New York City immigration judges. Some face deportation.
The City Council recently allocated nearly $2 million to Catholic Charities Community Services and its coalition of service providers to cover the children’s legal expenses.