The Waning Independence of Immigration Judges

The National Association of Immigration Judges has taken to fighting back against the Trump administration’s attempts to undercut their independence in order to expedite deportation proceedings. The union recently spoke out when AG Sessions removed a Philadelphia judge’s authority to oversee a large number of cases. This intervention only further demonstrates that the Trump Administration is willing to do whatever it takes to keep immigrants out of this country. Not only is this a scary example of how the Justice Department is beginning to imitate draconian style leadership, but it raises serious concerns about our current system of immigration courts. Even under a sane and non anti-immigrant president, it is a major risk to have judges working for the same department as the prosecutors, which is exactly the case with immigration judges who work for the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. In order to ensure fair hearings and proceedings for everyone seeking to enter this country, immigration judges must be able to act with complete independence. It’s time to make the Immigration Court an Article I court.

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