By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – President Donald Trump’s suggestion to do away with much of immigration court to turn back the “invaders“ is getting criticism.

For 32 years James P. Vandello sat as an immigration court judge. He is now retired.

James P. Vandello (credit: CBS)

He takes issue with the president’s tweet stated immigrants should be sent back immediately without judges or court hearings.

“Can he do that?” CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger asked Vandello.

“No, I don’t think he can’t do that. I know he can’t do that,” he replied.

Vandello said there are laws and international treaties that require due process to those who seek asylum.

(credit: CBS)

At the border, those without papers must be asked if they have a fear of persecution if they return home. If the answer is yes, they must be given a chance to make their case.

Vandello has seen people who have received asylum then three years later become naturalized citizens. He has seen the other side too.

“Certainly there are people who take advantage… fraud in asylum, marriage cases, but not in the majority of cases,” he said.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger walks into the ICE Processing Center in Aurora. (credit: CBS)

Sallinger attended an immigration court hearing to see the process. No cameras were allowed.

To enter at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing center in Aurora, visitors have to go through security and then be escorted through three locked doors before reaching the courtroom.

There those appearing were asked if they have family ties here and are given a chance to ask for a bond.

Outside Sallinger spoke with a group which had earlier left the building.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews a family outside the ICE Processing Center in Aurora. (credit: CBS)

The family from El Salvador and Mexico was visiting someone in detention. They said it is sad to see parents being separated from children at the border since they have a child themselves.

The American Civil Liberties Union is attacking the notion of no hearings as well as the separation of families.

“It is cruel, it is inhumane and it needs to stop,” Mark Silverstein, a lawyer with ACLU, said.

The president’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a White House briefing, “Just because you don’t see a judge, doesn’t mean you aren’t receiving due process.”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.


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