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Former BIA Chair Hon. Paul W. Schmidt to Ohio AILA

December 04, 2020 (1 min read)

PWS, Dec. 4, 2020

"Friends, you know, and I know, what is the biggest crisis facing the American justice system today. One that undermines and threatens racial justice, social justice, equality before the law, voting rights, American values, and indeed the very foundations of our democratic institutions and our justice system.

It’s imperative that our incoming Administration and its leaders fully recognize the overwhelming importance and extreme urgency of immediately ending the ongoing, deadly, and dangerous “Clown Show” at EOIR – the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Under the defeated but not yet departed regime, EOIR has been weaponized by White Nationalist nativists to function as America’s Star Chambers. Once envisioned by its founders, including me, as a potential “jewel in the crown” of American justice, EOIR now has become an ungodly nightmare of anti-due process, anti-immigrant propaganda, bad judges, bogus stats, uncontrollable backlogs, malicious incompetence, stupid regulations, daily doses of irrationality, abuse of private attorneys, and institution of “worst practices.” But, it doesn’t have to be that way! No, not at all!

With courage, bold action, and, most important, the right people in place in leadership and key judicial positions, EOIR can be fixed: sooner, not later. The Immigration Courts can, indeed, through teamwork and innovation become the world’s best courts guaranteeing fairness and due process for all, promoting a model of best practices for the Federal Judiciary as a whole, and providing a trained and ready source of due-process oriented judges with strong immigration, human rights, and equal justice backgrounds for the Article III Judiciary and public policy positions.

EOIR will then be positioned for the essential transition to an Article I independent U.S. Immigration Court when we have the votes.

But, it will require a far more progressive, visionary, and aggressive approach than past Democratic Administrations. We must immediately (and legally) clear out the deadwood and get the problem solvers from the New Due Process Army (“NDPA”) — mostly now in the NGO, clinical, and private sectors, folks like you and your colleagues — in place to fix this horribly broken system.

Read my complete speech here: