This chapter draws on extended observations within federal immigration courts and interviews conducted with sitting and retired immigration judges both before and after the 2014 influx of undocumented minors who were apprehended, detained, put into deportation proceedings, and forced to appear in fast track hearings. It examines the specific challenges judges face such as staff shortages, court backlogs, and negative press regarding the judicial training immigration they receive before appointment to the bench. Since 2014, stress on judges has been heightened with the creation of expedited juvenile hearings, the increased numbers of children in removal proceedings, overloaded dockets, a dramatic reduction in the proportion of children with legal representation, and mounting numbers of in absentia deportation orders. Immigration judges share views on what they see as their weak structural position within the U.S. Department of Justice, the power imbalances that favor the government and threaten both fairness and due process protections, the inadequate legal protections for immigrant children, and the heavy toll their work exacts through exposure to horrific persecution stories, heavy caseloads, and intrusive administrative oversight..
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