Since taking office, one of the foremost issues that President Trump and his administration have attempted to take on is their push for new immigration policies, primarily focused on restricting and limiting immigration to a severe extent. From his outrageous border wall, to the discriminatory attempts at repealing the DACA act, the Trump administration has shown that they are no friends of immigrants that have come to this country, whether legally or illegally. Now, a new announcement out of the White House claims to indirectly target immigration policy through enforcing new guidelines on federal immigration judges, which has left many in outrage.
On Monday, the Department of Justice claimed that they will be enforcing a quota on federal immigration judges, and evaluating their performance and efficacy based on the number of cases they close, as well as how quickly they hear the cases before them. According to opponents of the proposed quota, analyzing judges on metrics such as speed and volume is not only detrimental to the validity and fairness of the cases being heard, but may lead to a wide array of deportations due to potential scrutiny that could come from the Justice Department if cases are not handled quickly enough.
— Gregory Chen (@GregChenAILA) November 1, 2017
According to a CNN report:
‘The policy has been in the works for months, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration have been working to assert more influence over the immigration courts, or the separate court system built just for hearing cases about whether noncitizens have a claim to stay in the US.
‘US law gives the attorney general broad and substantial power to oversee and overrule these courts, as opposed to the civil and criminal US justice system, which is an independent branch of government. In the immigration courts, judges are employees of the Department of Justice.’
The Justice Department is implementing a new quota system for federal immigration judges under which they'll be expected to clear 700 cases to receive a "satisfactory" job performance review https://t.co/J5uNQFLOps
— Axios (@axios) April 2, 2018
Trump's pressuring US immigration judges to process cases faster by establishing a quota system tied to their annual performance reviews#ACLU
Judges will be expected to clear at least 700 cases a year to receive a “satisfactory” ratinghttps://t.co/yioDQFMPb6
— Gamora🔥💖 (@exoticgamora) April 2, 2018
The authority that the Justice Department holds over immigration judges is now proving detrimental, as Sessions is looking to exert as much power over the immigration process as a means of altering current policies. Despite the fact that the DOJ is claiming that the new measures are aimed to make the courts system more efficient, given the backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, the move can be seen as a direct threat to those awaiting outcomes for their hearings. Given that citizenship cases often take years to come to a conclusion, the emphasis placed on speed and volume that judges will be evaluated on is dangerous for those still in limbo.
Wait…the DOJ can put quotas on immigration judges…like writing so many speeding tickets a month? "I'm sorry, you certainly deserve to be admitted,, but I just met my quota for this month. Sorry."
— holcomb1943 (@rockledgehiker) April 2, 2018
Critics of Sessions’ new plan claim that the new metrics will jeopardize due process laws within the United States, as numerical caps will force judges to speed up their decisions, which could inevitably lead to an array of deportations. With less time available to immigrants to prove their legitimate right to stay in the country, these immigrants will have the decks stacked against them in being able to prove a viable reason to stay. The DOJ has outlined specific measures that will be looked into, requiring immigration judges to complete a minimum of 700 cases per year, and finalizing the case in up to 10 days of hearing it.
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