‘Zero-tolerance’ immigration policy hits snag in California

  • FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2018 file photo, U.S. Border Patrol detain Honduran migrants after they walked onto U.S. territory from Tijuana, Mexico. Federal judges in California have challenged more of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal immigration. Their decision in Sept. 2018 to no longer accept pleas at initial appearances led to the dismissal of many cases because the government deported defendants before they could return to court. The judges’ stance is another example of how the judiciary, in ways large and small, has put the brakes on some of the administration’s efforts to curb immigration. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez, File)

SAN DIEGO — One by one, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo called the names of 14 defendants who were charged with entering the country illegally. Defense attorneys told him the government had already deported them to Mexico, making it impossible for them to appear.