Jeff Sessions Imposes Limits on Immigration Judges’ Ability to Dismiss Deportation Cases

The latest anti-immigrant policy to come out of the Trump Administration is a particularly pernicious one. On September 19th, 2018, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy that will further restrict the authority that immigration judges have to dismiss deportation cases.

According to reporting from Reuters, Jeff Sessions has ruled that immigration judges can only dismiss deportation cases in “specific and circumscribed” situations and that immigration courts lack “inherent authority to terminate removal proceedings” on the grounds that the applicant is “sympathetic”. Here, our top-rated immigration lawyer explains the implications of this latest ruling by the Attorney General.

The Trump Administration Wants to Increase, Speed Up Deportations

Immigration judges are an important barrier that stands between United States immigration enforcement authorities and the unfair, unjust deportation of individuals. Under the law, the government must prove grounds for deportation/removal before a person can actually be taken out of the country. Immigration judges are in place to ensure that immigrants (and even Americans) get a fair process.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, along with other members of the Trump Administration, wants to drastically increase deportations, has repeatedly attempted to make policy changes that are designed to reduce the power of judges. The less authority that rests in the hands of immigration judges and the more deference given to the immigration enforcement agency, the more deportations the Administration can carry out.

As Kate Voigt, the associate director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, explained to Reuters, this decision is part of a “concerted effort by the Attorney General to undermine judicial independence”.

Notably, this move by the Attorney General comes just one month after another policy change that ordered immigration judges to increase their minimum daily caseload, a move that was blasted by the National Association of Immigration Judges. By increasing caseloads and reducing authority, it appears that the Attorney General is attempting to create a conveyor belt type system where immigration judges are essentially forced to sign off on deportation orders with limited review.

Why Does Jeff Sessions Have So Much Power Over Immigration Courts?

Immigration courts are distinct from traditional federal courts. They fall under the purview of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The Attorney General, largely serving as a proxy for the President, has considerable authority to exercise power over U.S. immigration courts. Unfortunately, when officials who have a long track record of hostility towards immigrants get into power, they can do tremendous damage.

Facing Deportation in Southern California? You Need Immediate Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one is facing deportation, you should contact a lawyer immediately At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our immigration lawyer has the skills and experience required to effectively handle deportation cases.

We will carefully review your case, assess your options, and help you build the strongest defense. To set up an immediate, fully confidential immigration consultation, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Los Angeles law office.