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Community groups protest new immigration court

Protesters lined the sidewalks Monday, with signs opposing the opening of the new ICE...
Protesters lined the sidewalks Monday, with signs opposing the opening of the new ICE immigration court on the 11th floor of the Heyburn Building. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Apr. 2, 2018 at 7:16 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) –  "We have nothing to lose but our chains!" was shouted outside the Heyburn Building on Monday morning.

Protesters lined the sidewalk with signs opposing the opening of the new ICE immigration court on the 11th floor of the Heyburn Building.

"Speak up," a protestor shouted. "Close the door on this ICE court now!"

"As an immigr ant, it's like they just keep trying to criminalize us," Jesenia Avila said. "They just keep trying to put us down when we haven't down anything wrong."

Before, the closest court was in Memphis. People had to tele-conference in for hearings.

Immigration attorney Nima Kulkarni said this move will be major for some clients.

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"You can hear more cases expeditiously," Kulkarni said. "So people aren't waiting a year, two years, to even have a hearing."

The new immigration court will also work to resolve the longstanding backlog.

However, Kulkarni and the protesters worry the speed of the process would come at the expense of hearing evidence that could help those trying to stay in America.

"Immigration judges have to maintain quotas, increased quotas," Kulkarni said. "Find people more people to deport and deport them more quickly."

Those quotas are administered by the Department of Justice.

In statement to WAVE 3 News the department said the following:

 "The establishment of an immigration court in Louisville will increase the productivity and efficiency of the immigration court system, and-- as is the case with all of our immigration courts-- will protect the due process of respondents whose cases are being adjudicated."?

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