WINNING! Activist Immigration Judges Quitting in Frustration After Trump Admin Crack Down

Friday, December 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Kristinn Taylor
December 27, 2019

Immigration judges frustrated with the Trump administration’s tightening of control over the Department of Justice based immigration court system are resigning from the bench in higher than normal numbers, many out of frustration, according to a report by CNN. The crack down began under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and has continued under Attorney General William Barr.

At the same time, the Trump administration has increased the number of judges to its highest number as the system is overwhelmed with cases stemming from the recent border surges.

Excerpt from the CNN report:

“Lisa Dornell loved her job. For 24 years, she sat on the bench in Baltimore’s immigration court, hearing hundreds of cases of immigrants trying to stay in the United States.

“It was an honor. It was a privilege to be able to preside over so many different cases and be able to grant relief to people who needed relief,” Dornell told CNN in an interview.

But she walked away from that job in April — a decision that still invokes a wave of emotion when she recalls it. “The toxic environment made it both harder and easier to leave,” Dornell said.

Over the past year, in the heat of a border migration crisis, 45 judges have left, moved into new roles in the immigration court system — which is run by the Justice Department — or passed away, according to the department. That’s nearly double the number who departed their posts in fiscal years 2018 and 2017, when 24 and 21 judges left, respectively, according to data provided by the judges union.

The reasons why individual judges have moved on from their posts on the bench vary, but in interviews with judges who left in recent months, one theme ties them all together: frustration over a mounting number of policy changes that, they argue, chipped away at their authority.

Their departures come as the Justice Department faces a backlog that exceeds 1 million cases. The bogged-down system has led to immigration cases being pushed out years in the future, leaving many immigrants residing in the US unsure if they’ll be allowed to stay or be ordered removed.

…The Trump administration was no exception. Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, implemented a series of changes to the immigration court system that have continued under his successor, William Barr.

The Justice Department has imposed case quotas, given more power to the director charged with overseeing the courts, reversed rulings, curtailed judges’ ability to exercise discretion in some cases and moved to decertify the union of immigration judges.

Over time, those actions prompted immigration judges, some of whom were retirement eligible and had decades of experience, to leave the department despite initial plans to stay longer.

“I felt then and I feel now that this administration is doing everything in its power to completely destroy the immigration court system, the board of immigration appeal and the immigration system in general,” said Ilyce Shugall, who served as an immigration judge in San Francisco from 2017 until March of this year. “And I just couldn’t be a part of that.”

The Rest…HERE

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