Immigration Judges Pushing for Independence

Immigration Judges Pushing for Independence

"Federal immigration judges are urging Congress to liberate them from the Department of Justice, a dramatic bid for independence that could eventually open immigration court records to the public for the first time in US history.  As lawmakers debate immigration legislation, the judges have intensified lobbying efforts in Washington with phone calls, letters, and personal trips to the Capitol, armed with support from national legal organizations including the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.  The judges say the backlogged immigration courts need the freedom to control their own budgets, issue timely decisions, and prevent unfair treatment of judges — all things they maintain are not happening within the Justice Department bureaucracy.  “The DOJ has contributed to selling the Immigration Courts short rather than defending their independence or enhancing their stature,” the judges’ union, the National Association of Immigration Judges, said in a report given to Congress. “This has serious and insidious repercussions.”  A move out of the Justice Department could also allow immigration judges to decide which court records be kept from the public, similar to regular courts." - Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe, July 17, 2013.