The federal defenders of San Diego recently requested the psychological expertise of AUS PsyD department chair Dr. Jude Bergkamp regarding the federal practice of Operation Streamline. This policy criminalizes unsuspecting individuals immigrating to the United States. Specifically, the federal courts process multiple defendants, ranging from 20-40 at one time with limited contact with defense counsel. In addition, these defendants are detained in immigration holding cells with conditions that are worse than most county jails. These proceedings sabotage the legal necessity that a defendant is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.
Utilizing Dr. Bergkamp’s experience with forensic psychological evaluations and research in cultural competency, the federal defenders asked for the application of relevant psychological concepts to the current application of Operation Streamline. For example, Dr. Bergkamp will provide insight regarding the impact of cultural factors, language, detainment conditions, response set, and coercive tactics upon an individual defendant’s capacity to be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.
The project is in collaboration with the New York University Law School, which will incorporate Dr. Bergkamp’s finding into an amicus brief as the beginning of a wider effort to appeal the current practice of Operation Streamline in the Supreme Court.