AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

DOJ Proposes Regulation to Turn Immigration Appeals into Tool of the Administration’s Anti-Immigrant Agenda

8/26/20 AILA Doc. No. 20082631. Asylum, Removal & Relief

August 26, 2020

George Tzamaras,
Tessa Wiseman,

Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published a sweeping proposed rule in the Federal Register that would overhaul Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) processes and remove due process safeguards with an aim of fast-tracking deportations. The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed rule.

AILA’s Senior Policy Counsel, Laura Lynch, stated, “The proposal gives the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) extraordinary adjudicatory power over appeals, authorizing him to reverse, singlehandedly, BIA decisions at the request of immigration judges. Putting this much power in the hands of an administrator who is not even a judge will give the Trump administration unprecedented ability to manipulate the courts in furtherance of its deportation agenda. The need for independent immigration courts has never been more urgent, or clear. This exemplifies why AILA is calling on Congress to pass legislation creating an immigration court system separate and independent from DOJ.”

AILA’s First Vice President, Jeremy McKinney, added, “The realities of this proposed rule are grim—more power entrusted to a hand-selected bureaucrat, increased pressure for speedy decisions at the cost of due process, and a dismantling of an appeals process vital to a fair day in court. Deeply troubling is the rule’s codification of the prohibition former Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to impose on judges’ ability to administratively close cases, a fundamental authority judges need to efficiently manage their overloaded dockets. At least two circuit courts have rejected Sessions’ analysis and overturned the decision. The proposed rule is part of a larger effort by the DOJ to exert improper political influence over immigration court decisions and to turn the immigration courts into an enforcement mechanism. It’s a power grab, pure and simple.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.