WASHINGTON, DC, July 6, 2020 — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) condemns the Trump administration’s recent ramp-up of efforts to turn the immigration court system into an enforcement tool rather than an independent arbiter for justice. The immigration courts are formally known as the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and are overseen by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
AILA President Jennifer Minear, noted, “AILA has long advocated for an independent immigration court, one that ensures judges serve as neutral arbiters of justice. This administration has instead subjected the courts to political influence and exploited the inherent structural flaws of the DOJ-controlled immigration courts, which also prosecutes immigration cases at the federal level. The nail in the coffin of judicial neutrality is the fact that the administration has put the courts in the control of a new Chief Immigration Judge who has no judicial experience but served as ICE’s chief immigration prosecutor. No less concerning is DOJ’s recent choice for Chief Appellate Immigration Judge – an individual who also prosecuted immigration cases and advised the Trump White House on immigration policy. This administration continues to weaponize the immigration courts for the sole purpose of accelerating deportations rather than dispensing neutral justice. Congress must investigate these politically motivated appointments and pass legislation to create an independent, Article I immigration court.”
Among the recent actions taken by this administration to bias the immigration courts:
- Attempting to decertify the immigration judges’ union.
- Blocking immigration judges’ ability to educate the public about the court system.
- Endangering lives through haphazard and inconsistent responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Attempting to buy out and then outright dismantling the Board of Immigration Appeals.
More AILA resources on the immigration courts can be found at: https://www.aila.org/immigrationcourts.