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Rep. Davis on the Need for Congress to Look at the Need for an Independent Immigration Court

Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, immigration judges face growing pressure to complete cases faster, potentially at the expense of giving immigrants a fair day in court, the president of the union of immigration judges warned on Friday. 
 
Judges are under undue pressure to work through cases — which would only worsen with a soon-to-be-implemented quota system, said the National Association of Immigration Judges’ president, Ashley Tabaddor, at the National Press Club in Washington on Friday. 
 
Some judges might also feel pressure to decide cases in a certain way too, because of the views and statements from their boss, she suggested. She separately said the attorney general is prone to “disparaging remarks about private attorneys and individuals appearing before the court.” 
 
“I would just say, listen to the attorney general’s remarks and you can decide what message is being sent,” Tabaddor said when asked if the pressure had to with both the speed of completing cases and their outcome. (She was speaking in her capacity as the union’s president; immigration judges are not typically permitted to speak publicly about issues before their courts.) 
 
The problem, she said, boils down to a fundamental flaw in the immigration court system: that it’s under the Department of Justice, rather than an independent agency.
 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the head of the Department of Justice, which means he's the top boss for immigration judges
KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / REUTERS
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the head of the Department of Justice, which means he’s the top boss for immigration judges.
Sessions has made no secret of his views on unauthorized immigration, either as a senator who railed against amnesty for the undocumented U.S. residents or as the head of the Department of Justice, which administers the nation’s immigration courts through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. That gives him extraordinary power over those courts not just in hiring judges but also in being able to unilaterally reverse decisions and setting precedents ? something he has done six times this year.  
 
Those decisions, coupled with a case quota system for judges set to go into effect in October, were aimed at shrinking a more than 700,000-case backlog in the courts and adhering to the law, according to Sessions. But critics argue their effect could be to pressure judges to make swift decisions on complex cases, potentially sending individuals back to harm without having their cases heard fairly.Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, immigration judges face growing pressure to complete cases faster, potentially at the expense of giving immigrants a fair day in court, the president of the union of immigration judges warned on Friday. 
 
As reported in a recent article in the Huffington Post: 
 
Judges are under undue pressure to work through cases — which would only worsen with a soon-to-be-implemented quota system, said the National Association of Immigration Judges’ president, Ashley Tabaddor, at the National Press Club in Washington on Friday. 
 
Some judges might also feel pressure to decide cases in a certain way too, because of the views and statements from their boss, she suggested. She separately said the attorney general is prone to “disparaging remarks about private attorneys and individuals appearing before the court.” 
 
“I would just say, listen to the attorney general’s remarks and you can decide what message is being sent,” Tabaddor said when asked if the pressure had to with both the speed of completing cases and their outcome. (She was speaking in her capacity as the union’s president; immigration judges are not typically permitted to speak publicly about issues before their courts.) 
 
The problem, she said, boils down to a fundamental flaw in the immigration court system: that it’s under the Department of Justice, rather than an independent agency.
 
The article goes on to note: 
 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the head of the Department of Justice, which means he’s the top boss for immigration judges.  Sessions has made no secret of his views on unauthorized immigration, either as a senator who railed against amnesty for the undocumented U.S. residents or as the head of the Department of Justice, which administers the nation’s immigration courts through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. That gives him extraordinary power over those courts not just in hiring judges but also in being able to unilaterally reverse decisions and setting precedents ? something he has done six times this year.  
 
Those decisions, coupled with a case quota system for judges set to go into effect in October, were aimed at shrinking a more than 700,000-case backlog in the courts and adhering to the law, according to Sessions. But critics argue their effect could be to pressure judges to make swift decisions on complex cases, potentially sending individuals back to harm without having their cases heard fairly.
 
Calls to move immigration courts out of the Department of Justice’s purview date to well before President Donald Trump; the American Bar Association, for example, called for independent immigration courts in 2010. 
 
Sessions’ actions have highlighted the need for independent courts, said Kate Voigt, an associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Calls to move immigration courts out of the Department of Justice’s purview date to well before President Donald Trump; the American Bar Association, for example, called for independent immigration courts in 2010. 
Should the immigration court be an independent body?  The article notes this is not a new issue:
 
Calls to move immigration courts out of the Department of Justice’s purview date to well before President Donald Trump; the American Bar Association, for example, called for independent immigration courts in 2010. 
 
Sessions’ actions have highlighted the need for independent courts, said Kate Voigt, an associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. 
This is certainly an idea worthy of examination by the Congress.
 
Calls to move immigration courts out of the Department of Justice’s purview date to well before President Donald Trump; the American Bar Association, for example, called for independent immigration courts in 2010. 
 
Sessions’ actions have highlighted the need for independent courts, said Kate Voigt, an associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. 
 
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