Lawyers urge immigration court system overhaul

The New York Times reports that the American Bar Association has called for Congress to scrap the current system and create a new, independent court for immigration cases.

In a vote at its semiannual meeting in Orlando, Fla., the lawyers’ organization endorsed a recommendation for a separate immigration court system that would be similar to federal courts that decide tax cases.

The immigration courts are not courts at all in the way Americans generally think of them. They are part of the Department of Justice, not the federal judiciary, and the judges, although they wear robes and sit in formal courtrooms, are employees of the attorney general.

While Congress has debated since 2006 an overhaul of the immigration system that would include measures to give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, proposals for fixing the courts have been largely ignored.

The courts have become “an overwhelmed system choked by an exploding caseload,” said Lawrence Schneider, an immigration lawyer at Arnold & Porter in Washington and a main author of the bar association report.

Read more here.

%d bloggers like this: