AILA Public Statements, Press Releases, Advocacy & Media

AILA Welcomes Legislation to Create Independent Immigration Court

2/3/22 AILA Doc. No. 22020351. Removal & Relief

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed newly introduced legislation that would create an independent immigration court system. The Real Courts, Rule of Law Act of 2022 was introduced by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Hank Johnson (D-GA), following two hearings on this issue over the past few years.

AILA President-Elect Jeremy McKinney stated, "This legislation is an extremely important step toward a court system that will ensure justice for immigrants as they face life and death outcomes from their cases. Longstanding and profound problems have hampered the capacity of the immigration courts to deliver timely and fair decisions and undermined the public's confidence in the system. The courts, housed in the Executive Office for Immigration Review, have been controlled by the Department of Justice (DOJ), rendering them vulnerable to interference from the executive branch. It boggles the mind that America's immigration courts are under the authority of a single person, the attorney general, who also happens to be the nation's chief prosecutor on immigration matters. How can that ensure justice?"

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director stated, "For years, AILA has advocated for an independent immigration court and this legislation is a long-awaited step forward in this effort. We saw in the Trump administration, and previous administrations as well, that the decisions made in our immigration courts were subject to partisan politics and policy aims that should never intrude upon the judicial sphere. We need a fully independent Article I court that is impartial, independent, and free from political pressure. We stand with Representatives Lofgren, Nadler, and Johnson, and urge broad, bipartisan support in these efforts to balance the scales of justice. Now is the time for our nation to restore integrity and fairness to our immigration courts."