Los Angeles Time Op-Ed: Immigration Judge Resigned Because She Could Not in “Good Conscience” Serve Under the Trump Administration

On August 4th, 2019, a disheartening op-ed was published in the Los Angeles Times. Titled ‘Why I resigned as an immigration judge’, it was written by Ilyce Shugall — a former immigration judge in San Francisco who was driven out of service by the Trump Administration’s repeated attacks on immigrant rights. 

Ms. Shugall noted that she started her career as an immigration lawyer as a strong advocate for fairness under the law. After nearly two decades of service, she took a position as an immigration judge in Northern California. While she knew there would be challenges, she writes that “nothing prepared me for the unprecedented, unfair and unworkable policies the Trump Administration imposed.

President Trump’s Department of Justice Prevented Fairness, Due Process

Ms. Shugall became an immigration judge in the Spring of 2015. Once President Trump took office, she noticed that the process started to change — and not in a positive direction. In her op-ed Ilyce Shugall states that she firmly believe that it was her job to make sure that everyone who appeared before her in immigration court “understood their rights and had the opportunity to fully present their cases.” 

However, in 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions imposed a strict new regime of quotas and performance metrics. In essence, the Sessions-led Department of Justice was simply trying to push immigration cases through the system — explicitly seeking to speed up the deportation process. In March of this year, Ilyce Shugall resigned her position as an immigration judge because she could not “in good conscience” carry out the Trump Administration’s unfair policies. 

Immigration Judges are Part of the Executive Branch

Though many people are not aware of it, immigration judges are technically not a part of the Judicial Branch of government. Instead, they are part of the Executive Branch. This is important because it means that the Department of Justice — the administration — has tremendous power to change how immigration judges do their job. 

The Trump Administration has attacked immigrant rights by trying to undermine fairness in immigration courts. Packing schedules and forcing immigration judges to rush through their cases is just one example of how the current administration is stacking the process against immigrants. What we learned from this op-ed piece is unfortunate: it is clear that the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies are driving away from the good immigration judges that our country needs and deserves. 

Get Help From Our Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Right Away

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our practice is dedicated to fighting for immigrant rights. No matter the specific nature of your case, we are here to help. To schedule a strictly confidential initial immigration consultation, please call us now at (213) 262-2000. From our office location in Los Angeles, we serve are proud to immigrants throughout Southern California, including in Santa Ana, Long Beach, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Orange, and Glendale.