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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Report: Immigration Judges Unduly Influenced by Administrative Priorities

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The National Association of Immigration Judges, the certified representative and recognized collective bargaining representative of the more than 250 Immigration Judges who preside over our Nation’s 58 trial level Immigration Court tribunals, has issued a report entitled "The State of our Courts: A View From The Inside."

The report outlines structural flaws in the current immigration court system finding that the Immigration Courts’ caseload "is spiraling out of control, dramatically outpacing the judicial resources available and making a complete gridlock of the current system a disturbing and foreseeable probability." This has destroyed morale of the immigration judge corps, which they say is "plummeting."

Astonishingly, the report shows that the Immigration Courts have been crippled by surging backlogs and insufficient staffing, coupled with a lack of adequate resources to manage the caseload, which has expanded exponentially under the current administration.

From the report:

Immigration Judges struggle with an average caseload unmatched by any U.S. court system. Tasked with applying a body of law compared most often to tax law in its complexity, Immigration Judges carry an average docket of more than 1500 cases. For perspective, the average caseload of a U.S. district court judge is 440. Moreover, despite these crushing dockets, Immigration Judges lack staff support, conducting their proceedings with the assistance of only 1/4 a judicial law clerk’s time, without bailiffs or court reporters.
What is most troubling is that Immigration Judges decision making authority is unduly influenced by administrative priorities, which if not met may subject the Judge to non-transparent performance review and disciplinary processes as DOJ employees. In short, supervisors that are not in Court are influencing how a judge manages their docket, and the judge is placed in the unenviable position of having to risk their livelihood should they exercise their independent decision-making authority when deciding continuances.

In short, it appears that our immigration judges are being told how to rule by bureaucrats that have no knowledge of the facts of the particular case.

How is that for justice?

Click here to read the report.

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