Sunday, May 9, 2021
Controversy continues over the Biden administration's appointment of 17 new immigration judges, all who are much needed with the enormous backlog of cases in the immigration courts. Rebecca Beitsch on the Hill ("Biden fills immigration court with Trump hires ") offers context to the controversy:
"The Biden team has hired a slate of immigration judges initially selected during the Trump era, angering advocates who argue the White House is already failing to deliver in its pledge to push back against the prior administration's shaping of the judiciary.
The first 17 hires to the court system responsible for determining whether migrants get to remain in the country is filled with former prosecutors and counselors for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as a few picks with little immigration experience.
Almost none have made their career representing migrants in court."
According to the story, immigration attorneys, advocates and some former immigration judges questioned why the group so closely mirrored the jurists favored by the Trump administration. “The 17 new immigration judges referenced in the notice all received their conditional offers under the prior administration,” a Justice Department spokesperson told The Hill.
Critics said the Biden administration has an obligation to fully vet the judges hired under their watch and rebalance a court system heavily shaped by the Trump team.
“This is a list I would have expected out of [Trump Attorney Generals] Bill Barr or Jeff Sessions, but they're not the attorney general anymore. Elections are supposed to have consequences,” said Paul Schmidt, former chair of the Board of Immigration Appeals and now an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center after 21 years as an immigration judge. “No one on that list is among the top 100 asylum authorities in the country, and that's the kind of people they should be hiring — not prosecutorial re-treads,” he added.Here is a recent interview of Schmidt.