Order in the Immigration Court: Sessions Brings Metrics to Bench



America’s immigration courts are in a hole. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is digging them out.

But don’t take our word for it. The Obama Justice Department acknowledged the courts’ chronic problems in a 2016 report that showed pending immigration cases skyrocketing from less than 300,000 to 457,106.

And that was in the era when “catch and release” practices were at their zenith.

Now that the Trump administration is expanding enforcement, particularly in the nation’s interior, the court backlog has topped 650,000 cases. So the attorney general is ordering immigration judges to step up their game, as well.

Sessions is hiring more than 100 more judges – a 30 percent increase – and he’s applying long-overdue metrics aimed at improving court performance. Among them:

  • 85 percent of removal cases for detainees shall be completed within three days of a hearing on the merits of the case.
  • 95 percent of those merit hearings must be completed on the initial scheduled hearing date.

Despite reflexive caterwauling about an assault on judicial independence, such directives are not new to the federal court system. “Using metrics to evaluate performance is neither novel nor unique,” notes James McHenry, director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Meantime, Sessions is reviewing the dubious practice of “administrative closure” where immigration judges fail to enforce deportation orders, effectively granting residency to illegal aliens. Some 350,000 illegals have benefitted from this policy.

The Justice Department reforms should alleviate the “catch and release” problem, some of which is caused by a failure to process asylum claims within 20 days. Under current procedures, detainees must be released if their cases are not heard in that time.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

About Author

avatar

Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

7 Comments

  1. avatar

    If you have entered the country illegally you are guilty of committing a crime. There should be no hearing only a deportation of the criminal This is a waste of the courts time when the evidence stands before you. Only another way to stall justice and escalate costs for the tax payers.

  2. avatar

    A lot of these “asylum” claims are simply made up because they know that’s the way to game the system. But just because there is violence in a particular country does not mean they are entitled to automatic entry here. There are a lot of people who live in Chicago neighborhoods where bullets fly on a daily basis. But would that entitle them to seek refuge in another country. No, not when you can move to downstate Illinois. It may not be easy to always pick up and move elsewhere, but it can be done.

    Immigration “advocates” always insist that these people should be released on bail. But what happens everyday in the courts of this country? People are denied bail because the judge thinks there is a good chance they will not show up. With these illegals, it’s undeniable that only a small fraction ever show up for court and generally the cases are dismissed. Don’t think it’s fair they should be held, instead of the standard “catch and release”? It’s because they just ignore the court hearings they are supposed to attend and they know very well they are required to attend. It’s their duty to remember the dates and show up.

  3. avatar

    The Constitution says that criminal defendants have the right to a “speedy trial.” I don’t see why the same principle shouldn’t be applied to immigration hearings as well. Come in, state your case, and get it over with. The American citizenry don’t have to allow a single solitary foreign national to enter the country. Of course, we do, under the most generous immigration system on the planet. But, ‘generosity’ has its limits; we’re tired of being scammed by every cock’n’bull story under the sun when it comes to ‘asylum’ claims. There are at least FOUR BILLION people on the Planet who live in Third World Hell Holes. They CANNOT all come here; not even a sizable fraction of them. It’s up to Mexicans, Hondurans, etc. etc. to work to make their countries a better place for themselves and their children. That’s called PATRIOTISM, and it’s time it started at home AND abroad!

    • avatar

      i dont see where they have the right to a trial, the constitution should only apply to citizens and legal residents

      • avatar

        I agree! Getting very fed up paying for Illegal Aliens to go to school, get on welfare, food stamps, health care. We go to there country and we get kicked out if do not have enough $ to care for ourselves

Leave A Reply