Judges, Not Politics, Should Control Immigration Courts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today a new Trump administration policy goes into effect that exerts greater control of the U.S. immigration court system, while limiting the power of immigration judges.

The new rule gives the director of the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) – a political appointee – the power to decide backlogged immigration cases, and makes significant changes to EOIR, which operates the U.S. immigration court system.

The policy also increases the authority of EOIR’s office of policy, a move which centralizes policy-making authority and implements administration priorities within EOIR.

“This new rule effectively takes power away from independent immigration judges and centralizes it in the hands of administration officials,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “The blatant politicization of the adjudication of immigration cases underscores the need for a fully independent immigration court system that is not subject to intervention from the Justice Department or other political actors.

“We need an independent immigration court system so that life-altering legal cases can be decided by judges, not politics.”

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