>> In an apparent effort to speed deportations, the Trump administration is planning to re-assign immigration judges. Reuters learning that the administration hopes targeting undocumented immigrants caught in the criminal justice system may be the fastest way to remove them from the country. Reuters justice correspondent Julia Edwards Ainsley.>> So currently there are 292 immigration judges handling a backlog of over 540,000 cases.
So a lot of times when an immigrant comes into the United States and claims asylum, they're given a court date set years into the future. The Trump administration wants to handle that backlog and to try to tackle the cases that they believe can be easily handled, which they think would be people who have had some kind of encounter with the law, whether they've been charged or convicted.
This would be an effort to redeploy their resources, take judges away from cases that are more complicated that'd take years to adjudicate, and put them on cases that they think will be a slam dunk.>> Under President Trumps order the judges will be reassigned to 12 US cities covering over half of the roughly 18,000 pending immigration cases involving criminally charged defendants.
Only 204 of those cases involve migrants currently serving jail time, meaning the others have either not been convicted or have already served time for their crimes. While the administration believes targeting criminally charged defendants will speed things up, others are not so sure.>> We've been told by former immigration judges that that plan might not be as easy as they think, that in a lot of cases a judge will not deny an asylum claim simply because a migrant has been charged with a crime.
And there are even cases where a migrant can commit a serious crime but they're still given asylum just given the circumstances of the case.>> How many judges will be reassigned and when they will be sent is still under review.