The Jacob Javits Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan
The Jacob Javits Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan (NYLJ/Rick Kopstein)

The expedited consideration of deportation cases to handle the massive influx of children and their parents from the Southern border of the United States began in earnest Wednesday at the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan.

Immigration Judge Frank Loprest presided over initial appearances by 32 people, 29 of them minors, who are seeking to remain in the United States. Loprest is the first judge to handle the so-called “rocket docket” green lighted by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for immigration Review (EOIR) to cope with the more than 63,000 people who have streamed over the border since late 2013.

New York, already one of the busiest immigration courts in the country and the destination for many immigrants who already have family in the metropolitan era, has received about 3,347 minors since January and local advocacy groups have been scrambling to provide them with legal representation in their efforts to stay in the United States.

The program, effective as of July 18, is intended to speed resolution of the cases compared to what can typically be a six -month lag between between a notice of intent to deport and the initial appearance, and proceedings that can sometimes take years to complete.

EOIR spokeswoman Lauren Alder Reid said Wednesday that under the priority docket, initial appearances for unaccompanied children are to be held within 21 days, and within 28 days for adults with children.

Different judges will be asked to preside over the priority docket, which is in addition to the juvenile docket that covers about 100 cases and is heard five times a month at 26 Federal Plaza. Under the expedited plan, a double-docket of some 65 cases is scheduled for next week.