Aarti Kohli – Operation Streamline: Assembly-Line Justice at the Border
Please listen (above) to the Research Seminar given by Aarti Kohli on May 18, 2010. We also encourage you to subscribe to our CCIS Podcast and listen to all of our research seminars for free!
Aarti Kohli, director of immigration policy at the Warren Institute, will discuss a recent research project examining a Department of Homeland Security program that requires the federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment of all unlawful border crossers. The program, known as Operation Streamline, mainly targets migrant workers with no criminal history and has resulted in skyrocketing caseloads in many federal district courts along the border. From 2007 to 2008, federal prosecutions of immigration crimes nearly doubled, reaching more than 70,000 cases.
To understand how Operation Streamline is working, the Warren Institute conducted interviews with judges, U.S. attorneys, defense attorneys, Border Patrol representatives and immigration lawyers in four cities where versions of the program are in place in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Warren Institute’s report concludes that Operation Streamline raises significant legal and policy concerns. The program likely diverts crucial law enforcement resources away from fighting violent crime along the border, fails to demonstrate that it effectively reduces undocumented immigration, and violates the U.S. Constitution. This project also examines the Southern District of California as an alternative to Operation Streamline.
Aarti Kohli is Director of Immigration Policy at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at Berkeley School of Law. Her area of expertise is immigration law and policy. She leads the institute’s immigration initiative with the goal of connecting research with civic action and policy debate. Her work has focused on the following topics, among others: racial profiling in immigration enforcement, the intersection of criminal and immigration law; impact of deportations on U.S. citizen children, legal restrictions on immigrant access to healthcare; economic, social, and legal implications of state and local laws on immigrant integration.
She has served as a Consultant to the Office of Children’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State. Formerly, she was Judiciary Committee and Immigration and Claims Subcommittee counsel to Representative Howard Berman (D-CA). Prior to working for Congress, she served as Assistant Legislative Director at UNITE union in Washington DC. In addition, she has also worked as a consultant to the National Immigration Law Center, the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and the National Immigration Forum. Aarti holds a J.D. from University of California Hastings College of the Law and a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Development Studies. She is a member of the California Bar.