Immigration Law

Military Lawyers to be Detailed to Border for Immigration Cases?

Washington Post, Apr. 26, 2019

"Senior Defense Department officials have recommended that acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan approve a new request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide military lawyers, cooks and drivers to assist with handling a surge of migrants along the border. ... As part of the proposal, military attorneys would assist with deportation hearings in immigration courts across the country. The proposed move has already generated concern from military officers who worry it would drag their nonpartisan institution further into a divisive domestic political issue. ... Immigration law is one of the most complex and politically fraught areas of federal law, often compared to the tax code for its intricacy, which could complicate the potential assignment of military lawyers to migrants’ cases. According to Dana Leigh Marks, an immigration judge, having military lawyers with little or no experience in such cases could slow down the proceedings because judges will have to explain procedures to them. “I’ve never heard of it in my 40 years,” said Marks, a San Francisco judge who spoke in her capacity as past president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. ... Under the new proposal, military lawyers would be detailed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and would be supervised by ICE personnel as they work on immigration cases. “Attorneys aren’t interchangeable at the drop of a hat,” said Ashley Tabaddor, president of the union that represents federal immigration judges."