“An Amicus brief was recently filed with the BIA on behalf of seven former immigration judges (including myself) and a former BIA board member in the case of Negusie v. Holder. (In addition to the former Board member, one of the included IJs also served as a temporary Board member). The case was remanded by the U.S. Supreme Court in order for the Board to determine whether there is a duress exception to the bar to asylum which applies to those who have persecuted others on account of a protected ground.
The context for the brief is as follows. After initially ceding a limited duress exception to the Board, DHS recently changed its position. In now opposing such exception, DHS relies in part on its contention that the complex analysis such determinations require would overburden the currently backloggedimmigration courts.
The amicus brief on behalf of the former IJs and Board member offers three primary points in rebuttal to this portion of DHS’s claim. First, the brief points out that the immigration courts’ present backlog is largely the result of policy decisions made by both EOIR and DHS itself. As the brief argues, it is disingenuous for DHS to create policies that contribute to the immigration courts’ backlog, and then argue to limit immigration judge’s decision-making authority as a means of alleviating its self-created burden. The brief adds that such “bureaucratic failures resulting in the immigration court backlog cannot be a reason to deny people their right to a fair and just outcome.”
Read Jeffrey’s complete analysis over on his own website at the above link.
Why the “Chevron Doctrine” has gotta go:
Folks, the Supremes remanded the Negusie case in 2009 — that’s right, approximately eight years ago! Since that time, the supposedly “expert” BIA has been screwing around trying to came up with guidance.
It was obvious from the Supreme’s decision that they all had firm opinions on the correct answer (notwithstanding some very disingenuous protests to the contrary). So, why send the case back several levels in the system, all the way to a non-Article III administrative tribunal to make a decision that the BIA is either unwilling or incapable of making in a timely manner?
It’s time for the Supremes to step up to the plate and decide difficult and controversial issues when they are presented to them, not “punt” back to lesser qualified Executive agencies that lack the necessary judicial independence to make the best and fairest decisions. Why have a Supreme Court that is afraid to decide important legal issues?
In the meantime, lives are in the balance as the BIA flounders about trying to reach a decision. U.S. Immigration Judges and lower Federal Courts have had to “go it alone” on real-life cases while the BIA ruminates. Indeed, I had to decide such cases at the trial level on several occasions without any meaningful guidance from the BIA.
Moreover, the obvious unfairness of these delays is well illustrated here. During the eight years at the BIA, the Administration has changed and is now taking a much more restrictive position. But, if the BIA had done its job, the precedent, presumably more generous, would have been established years ago, and many cases would already have been finally determined thereunder.
It’s time to put an end to the absurdly “undue deference” that the Supremes give to non-Article III decision makers on questions of law under Chevron.