A US federal judge in the southwest state of New Mexico who has issued deportation sentences for more than 15,000 immigrants has expressed weariness over a persisting immigration crackdown that he insists “destroys” families.
"I have presided over a process that destroys families for a long time, and I am weary of it," said Robert Brack on Saturday in an interview with the US-based daily The Los Angeles Times. "And I think we as a country are better than this."
Brack further conceded that the majority of the thousands he had sentenced were immigrants with little or no criminal record.
"I get asked the question, 'How do you continue to do this all day every day?' I recognize the possibility that you could get hard-edged, you could get calloused, doing what I do," he also emphasized, noting: "I don't. Every day it's fresh. I can't look a father and a husband in the eye and not feel empathy."
According to the daily, however, federal judges in the border region of New Mexico have strictly enforced Trump administration’s immigration laws, which require the courts to seek criminal charges against illegal immigrants instead of dealing with cases administratively.
Consequently, judges have been enforcing Attorney General Jeff Session’s “zero tolerance” policy, establishing that all immigrants crossing the border illegally into the US be charged with a crime.
Moreover, the New Mexico “fast-track” system and the manageable level of immigrants crossing through New Mexico allow for swift prosecution of nonviolent refugees from the mostly impoverished and violence-torn Central American nations, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua.
Condoning the harsh measure, however, US Attorney for the District of New Mexico John Anderson described the system as "an efficient process," as quoted in the report, saying: "That is one of the key features that allows us to implement 100 percent prosecutions."
Yet Judge Brack still insists that he faces a moral dilemma reconciling his oath to the law with his discomfort in participating in a system he views as unjust.
He ranked first among 680 judges nationwide for his caseload from 2012-2017, sentencing 6,858 offenders -- 5,823 of them for felony immigration violations -- according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
The remarks came as US President Donald Trump has newly urged for an end to his administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US border.