Immigration judges claim that the annual case quota set by the Trump administration to unclog the country’s immigration court system will likely do the opposite, adding to, rather than clearing up the courts’ huge backlog of cases.This comes after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would be setting a quota for immigration judges, mandating every judge to handle and resolve a minimum of 700 cases a year to meet job standards.
The Trump administration has been making changes to the country’s immigration system, living up to the President’s campaign promise to crack down on unlawful immigration and undocumented immigrants. In particular, the president has focused his efforts on doing away with the legal technicalities he believes have been “abused” by individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. and awaiting court dates in order to remain in the country. Immigration courts have thus seen an overwhelming influx of cases, resulting in a backlog of cases that continues to grow with each passing day.
According to Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and herself an immigration judge in L.A., the quota will only backfire and undermine a system already suffering from imbalances, which are preventing people who are slated for deportation from receiving a fair hearing.
She believes the quote will invite unnecessary scrutiny and undermine immigration courts around the country. She expressed the association’s concerns that parties who appear in court in the future will end up wondering if the judge is issuing decision simply to meet a deadline or quote, or if they’re actually objectively adjudicating the case.
Tabbador further adds that the mandated quota would further swell the backlog as distrust in the system could serve as a valid grounds for an appeal of a ruling.
“It is essentially building an appealable issue into the case, which means that instead of reducing the backlog, it is going to increase the backlog,” she explains.
The Justice Department stands by the new policy, arguing that speeding up the process by enforcing a quota would not sacrifice due process.Over 684,000 immigration cases are currently awaiting resolution as reported by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. At least 105,000 of these cases are pending in Texas courts.
Tabaddor and her fellow judges acknowledge the backlog but do not find that it justifies a quota. She explains that a single case could have up to hundreds of pages in filings, requiring more than a few hours out of a day to fully evaluate and form a conclusion on. And given how many immigration cases involve life-and-death situations, immigration courts need to take their time when going through cases.
If you are one of the many immigrations caught in legal limbo for years, learn about your legal options by talking to Lyttle Law Firm today. Schedule a consult by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.