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Immigration Law

"EOIR Failed Court Administration 101"

NAIJ, June 10, 2020

"The National Association of Immigration Judges Statement on DOJ OIG Report on Executive Office for Immigration Review Fiscal Year 2019 Financial Management Practices

DOJ OIG Report Highlights the Structural Flaw of Entrusting a Law Enforcement Agency with Administering the Immigration Court

The United State Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) June 9, 2020 report, assessing the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s (EOIR) financial management practices, revealed significant leadership and structural failures at EOIR. Although Congress fully funded EOIR’s 2019 budget request, EOIR nevertheless announced on March 6, 2019 that it was “considerably short of being able to fulfill all of [EOIR’s] current operational needs.” In its audit, OIG determined that EOIR’s statement was not accurate. Nor was a subsequent EOIR claim that its interpreter costs would spike to approximately 150% of its budgeted amount. OIG also found that the EOIR director knowingly failed to correct his inaccurate statements because of concerns of “backlash.”

“EOIR failed court administration 101” said NAIJ President, Ashley Tabaddor in response to the OIG report: “The mismanagement uncovered by OIG in yesterday’s report is only the tip of the iceberg of persistent systemic and structural failures at EOIR. EOIR has failed to implement an electronic filing system, failed to properly hire judge teams as instructed by Congress, failed to secure adequate space to properly run the court and has persistently shuffled immigration judge dockets resulting in the unprecedented backlog of over 1 million immigration court cases.” The prestigious Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Clearinghouse (TRAC) recently announced that EOIR’s data releases are so deficient that the public should not rely on the accuracy of those records, and despite calls for correction, EOIR’s data irregularities are approaching the point of no return.

These problems all stem from the structural flaw of having the immigration court housed in the Department of Justice, a law enforcement agency. The OIG report findings are just another example of systemic flaws plaguing the immigration court and bolster the widespread call on Congress to establish an independent immigration court."