The State of Immigration Courts: A View from the Inside

The State of Immigration Courts: A View from the Inside

"The problems plaguing the Immigration Court system have been documented for years.  ln 1983, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) was created to provide independence and insulation for the immigration courts from the enforcement functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).  During the comprehensive reform of immigration law in 2002, virtually all immigration functions were consolidated within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); however, the EOIR remained at the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The issue of the proper placement and support for the Immigration Court system was raised at that time, and the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) argued then that it would be prudent to allow the EOIR to remain within the DOJ.  The NAIJ hoped that this modest step towards additional independence would be sufficient to cure the ills which persisted while the EOIR was overshadowed by the INS’s enforcement mission.

However experience has proven that this step was insufficient. The time has come to implement the far-reaching reform recommended by bipartisan commissions more than thirty years ago: an Article I Immigration Court is the answer." - National Association of Immigration Judges, April 2013.