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Immigration Law Blog

Blog on immigration law information, issues and news.

Calling for an Independent Immigration Court System

Many legal organizations have begun calling on Congress to create an independent immigration court system. The American Bar Association (ABA), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Federal Bar Association (FBA), and the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) have reached out to Congress voicing their concerns about the current system in place. Currently, the U.S. immigration court system is managed by the executive branch which is an entity of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ’s role is to ensure due process of law in the immigration proceedings. Due to the increasing backlogs of cases in the immigration court system the DOJ has established case quotas to ‘help’ further along immigration cases. The four legal groups mentioned above have raised the question as to why the current immigration court system is being managed by the part of the executive branch that is responsible for prosecuting immigrants? In a letter the four legal groups sent to Congress they stated, “As a result, the Attorney General is charged with being both lead prosecutor and lead judge in immigration cases.” They proceed to explain that presents a conflict of interest, “This inherent conflict of interest is made worse by the fact that immigration judges are considered merely government attorneys, a classification that fails to recognize the significance of their judicial duties and leaves them particularly vulnerable to political pressure and interference in case management.” The DOJ also announced that it would cut the number of in-person translators and replace them with videos. President Emerita Denise Noonan Slavin stated that, “Court funds should be used to ensure the court operates efficiently and fairly.” By cutting funds and rushing immigration judges to make haste decisions will only result in wrongful deportations of people who are seeking asylum.

Mercedes Riggs