The Justice Department will begin rating immigration judges’s job performance based on how quickly they close cases, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. While there is a massive backlog of cases—leaving immigrants in limbo for years—it’s hard, given the extra extra racist ambitions of this administration, to see this as a good faith approach to alleviating a bloated system. Under the helm of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, expediting these cases sure seems like an attempt to deport more people.
A March 30 memo sent to immigration judges from the Executive Office for Immigration Review emphasized that these new quotas will, “encourage efficient and effective case management while preserving immigration judge discretion and due process.”
From The Wall Street Journal:
Under the new quotas, judges will be required to complete 700 cases a year and to see fewer than 15% of their decisions sent back by a higher court. Over the past five years, the average judge completed 678 cases in a year, said Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley. But there was a range, he said, with some judges completing as many as 1,500 cases in a year.
In addition, they will be required to meet other metrics, depending on their particular workload. One standard demands that 85% of removal cases for people who are detained be completed within three days of a hearing on the merits of the case. Another metric demands that 95% of all merits hearings be completed on the initial scheduled hearing date.
The union representing the judges warns that these quotas could encourage rushed court proceedings and influence judges’ decision-making. While the backlog of cases, and arbitrary nature of many deportation cases, forces many undocumented immigrants to live in a world of uncertainty, immigration advocates point out that creating a speedier deportation factory isn’t the solution.
Laura Lynch of the American Immigration Lawyers Association told CNN, “Creating an environment where the courts care more about the speed than the accuracy, and where judges are evaluated and even rewarded based on quantity rather than quality is unacceptable and a violation of due process.”
Another way to address the glut in our system? Stop detaining hundreds of thousands of people.