The Justice Department is imposing quotas on how quickly immigration judges can close cases in an effort to speed up the process, raising serious questions about the independence of the judicial branch of law. The ABA Journal, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal report that the Justice Department is taking the action to help relieve a backlog of immigration cases. According to The Washington Post:
The judges will be expected to clear at least 700 cases a year to receive a “satisfactory” performance rating, a standard that their union called an “unprecedented” step that risks undermining judicial independence and opens the courts to potential challenges.
The new measures will take effect October 1, at the start of the new fiscal year. The quotas were announced by the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been in the news a lot lately, and not always in a good light. Does the US need a mass deportation strike force? A civil rights lawyer who’s running for Congress doesn’t think so. In an interview with The Nation, Dan Canon says he believes ICE should be abolished. “I don’t think a lot of people have any kind of direct experience with ICE, so they don’t really know what they do or what they’re about. If they did, they’d be appalled,” Canon told The Nation. He says ICE is “devoted almost solely to cruelly and wantonly breaking up families. The agency talks about, and treats, human beings like they’re animals.” Read more about Canon’s argument at The Nation.
As Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ war on asylum cities and states continues, the Justice Department has begun to change the definition of who qualifies for asylum protection. Sessions is placing stricter limits on who can qualify for asylum in America. Immigration lawyers are warning that this could result in thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries being turned away once they reach the US. NPR takes a look at how these changes could affect those seeking asylum.
The National Advocates member Garrett Wilkes helped one of his immigration clients win a one-year stay of deportation after he sought refuge in a Phoenix church. 30-year-old Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas was granted the yearlong stay on a humanitarian basis. Wilkes says Berrones checked in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement every six months until December. That’s when ICE agents told him he’d be deported in January. CNN has more on Berrones’ fight to stay in the US.
A CBS News interview is available here.
While a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress aims to address two of the more pressing issues on immigration, a path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’ and spending more on border security along the Mexican border with the US, the proposal may not have a good chance of getting President Trump’s signature. If Washington is unable to agree on a solution to the expiration of the DACA program in March, one immigration advocate is calling on cities, counties and states to find the courage to stand up to the Trump administration’s tougher policies and actions on immigration. Juan Escalante says with some states like Florida considering their own stricter immigration legislation, more states need to step up on behalf of dreamers like New York, New Jersey and California. You can read more in Escalante’s column at HuffPost.
As lawmakers in Washington continue to wrangle over the best possible solution for ‘dreamers,’ or undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, columnist Ryan Cooper suggests at The Week that the best solution may also be the simplest: complete amnesty. While some conservative critics have derided President Trump as “Amnesty Don” for his administration’s offer to make a DACA deal in exchange for limits on legal immigration, Cooper says the pathway to citizenship for dreamers may be the easiest:
Therefore, I would like to offer a contrary bold argument: All unauthorized immigrants, and all residents with some form of temporary permit, should be immediately granted permanent legal status.
Read more about Cooper’s radical recommendation at The Week.
The Trump administration says it will bring an end to the provisional residency status of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the US since at least 2001, according to the Washington Post. The move means the Salvadorans will now face deportation unless they meet a September 2019 deadline to either leave the country or find a way to obtain a green card. It’s the latest step by the Trump administration to limit the number of immigrants living in the US, either by limiting the number allowed to enter the country or by forcing those without legal status to leave. The Salvadorans affected by the move had been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after earthquakes ravaged the South American country in 2001.
A compromise plan on immigration that would affect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and border security has been unveiled by a bipartisan pair of House members, CNN reports. Texas Republican Will Hurd and California Democrat Pete Aguilar have been “quietly working for weeks” on the legislation, according to CNN. Both Representatives say they hope their proposal can speed up talks revolving around how to handle “Dreamers,” or young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
The attorney general for the state of Washington alleges that Motel 6 gave information about thousands of guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, according to HuffPost. Washington state AG Bob Ferguson had his agents investigate Motel 6’s practices after it was reported that the motel chain gave ICE agents in Arizona information about people who were registered as guests.
Ferguson’s office found that Motel 6 locations in Washington were also providing ICE with customers’ names, room numbers, license plate numbers and dates of birth, in violation of consumer protection and discrimination laws, the attorney general said.
Details on the AG’s lawsuit are available at HuffPost.