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Barr Makes Significant Changes to Immigration Courts

After being confirmed as the new U.S. Attorney General, William Barr has set his sights on making substantial changes to immigration courts. Under Barr, the Justice Department is set to issue new rule changes that will make it easier for appellate immigration judges to declare their rulings binding on the entire immigration system. Among the changes was expanding the use of single-judge, cursory decisions at the appellate level.

The Trump administration is framing the proposal as a necessary measure to remedy a delay-plagued immigration court system. Currently, simple asylum cases are a taking years to process. However, immigration attorneys and advocates say the changes can be used to dramatically reshape immigration law in order to forge a path towards achieving the President’s political goals.

In March, Trump said, “Congress has to ... get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work. And frankly, we should get rid of judges. You can’t have a court case every time somebody steps their foot on our ground.”

The Justice Department also revived an old regulation used during the George W. Bush administration that allows the 21-judge appeals court system that hears immigration cases more latitude to issue cursory opinions without explanation. This means courts could set precedents with only a small minority of appeals judges participating in the process. It would also mean that the administration could make changes to immigration law that wouldn’t require congressional action.

According to Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge and former senior legal adviser to the immigration appeals court, “All of these pieces add up to taking away due process and speeding people through to their deportation in some sort of assembly line substitute for justice.”

To learn more about the proposed changes, click here:

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