Three cheers to Daniel M. Gerstein and Martina L. Melliand for their story (The forgotten cornerstone in the immigration reform debate) in The Hill yesterday regarding the forgotten child in the immigration reform debate: the immigration court.
We hear endless stories about increased funding for ICE to detain and CBP to restrain but never for EOIR to adjudicate the caseload. Instead EOIR is expected to continue to do more with less as the Department of Justice and Congress send funds elsewhere.
Immigration courts across the United States perform a herculean task on a daily basis with minimal office staffing and not enough judges. However, Congress continually refuses to open its wallet so that the immigration courts can be properly staffed.
Because of this situation, the judges and staff that remain at the courts nationwide perform the work of two or three and respondents can expect that their case will not be heard for a number of years. Unfortunately this is not likely to change.
Politicians will argue for funding for ICE and CBP because these agencies are tied to border security and enforcement and this is what captures the headlines. Adjudication of 436,370 and growing cases nationwide will have to wait because it’s not headline material even as it drifts into punch line material.
Written by Matt Maiona, Member, AILA Media Advocacy Committee