Sunday, February 24, 2019
The American Immigration Council's "Immigration Impact" carefully analyzes the Trump administration's plans to reduce the immigration court backlog, which has increased dramatically in recent years.
Pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has produced a partially redacted plan for reducing the immigration court backlog. The aim of the October 2017 “Strategic Caseload Reduction Plan” is clear—to fundamentally alter the immigration court system under the guise of creating efficiencies.
As noted by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the effect of a new quota system on immigration judges for completing immigration cases is already widely felt. In addition, decisions from the Attorney General and EOIR policies have limited immigration judges’ independence and ability to effectively to control their own dockets and address the backlog. These changes include limiting a judges’ ability to continue cases and use of administrative closure—an important tool that allows a judge to temporarily take a case off the court docket.
The conclusion: The changes outlined in the case management plan appear to reflect a desire to fast track deportation, not a desire to improve efficiencies in the courtroom.