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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

DOJ Inspector General Cares About Quantity, Not Quality, of Immigration Court Decisions

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A new Inspector General report criticizes EOIR for the quantity of cases completed, but totally ignores the quality of EOIR's work.* The 74-page report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz
finds that data from Immigration Courts overstates case completion
rates and that the Courts are too slow.* The report also makes
recommendations, such as developing guidelines for when Immigration
Judges should grant continuances. *


Mr. V demonstrates why quality is more important than quantity.



I've reviewed the report, and I can safely say that it was a complete
waste of time (both my time and the time of the poor sod who prepared
it) and tax payer money (both mine and yours).* For that reason, I won't
waste additional time discussing what's in the report (and if you want
to see a substantive critique of the report, check out TRAC Immigration).* However, I want to discuss what's not in the report.

Actually, before I get to that, I want to further trash this report.*
It is frankly offensive that the Office of Inspector General ("OIG")
would issue a report about quantity without discussing quality.* If the
OIG's only concern is completing cases quickly, why not just deny all
the cases now and be done with it?* Why bother with due process or equal
protection?* Why bother to have a Department of Justice at all?* We can
simply rename it the Department of "Just ICE" and then deport
everyone.* Done and done.

And now, for what's not in the report.

First, you would think that anyone preparing a report about IJs or
BIA Board Members would have sought input from people who practice
before the Immigration Courts and the BIA.* Bar associations regularly
survey their members about the quality of judges, so why can't the OIG
(or EOIR) survey private attorneys, non-profit organizations, and DHS
attorneys about their experience with IJs and the BIA?* Such information
would be very helpful in assessing both the quality and the quantity of
EOIR's work product.

Second, the report does not tell us whether IJs or the BIA are doing a
good job deciding cases.* This seems to me the single most important
part of the Judges' and Board Members' jobs.* One way to measure the
quality of IJ and BIA decisions is to look at the reversal rates for
those decisions.* To me-and this is an issue
I've harped on before-one relatively easy way to reduce reversal rates
is to provide more guidance to decision-makers.* The BIA can do this by
publishing more decisions.

Finally, the report fails to acknowledge the connection between
quantity and quality.* Immigration cases are often complex.* Aliens (and
DHS attorneys) seek continuances for valid reasons.* In order to reach a
just result in many cases, continuances are needed.* In the asylum
context, for example, continuances are sometimes necessary to allow the
alien more time to find a lawyer (the success rate for unrepresented
aliens is much lower than for represented aliens).* Thus, in Immigration
Court, justice delayed is not always justice denied.* Sometimes, it is
simply justice.

Perhaps I am being a bit too hard on the OIG.* It is certainly
possible to help improve EOIR by examining the quantity of its decisions
and the accuracy of its reporting.* But when the OIG has failed to
address the quality of EOIR's work and instead issues a comprehensive
report basically telling EOIR to hurry up, it seems to me that the OIG's
priorities are not where they should be.

Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.

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Updated 07-16-2013 at 01:58 PM by JDzubow

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