TCP has called on the federal government to end the “conveyor belt” system of justice for immigrants charged with illegal entry or reentry, and to ensure that defendants facing prosecution for those crimes have access to effective representation by a lawyer.
Called Operation Streamline, the program for prosecuting illegal border-crossing often completes a criminal case with incarceration and deportation consequences in less than two days, and defendants rarely have a lawyer until just hours before their appearance in court. Prosecutions of illegal entry and reentry have accounted for more than half the federal criminal convictions this year.
“Overloaded dockets for Streamline defense attorneys, in conjunction with mass plea agreements and rushed proceedings, undermine due process and fairness in our criminal justice system,” said TCP President Virginia Sloan in a July 28 letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. She urged the attorney general to “reconsider the rapid rate at which the Department of Justice is prosecuting these cases.”