SPLIT 7th CIRCUIT VACATES EXPEDITED REMOVAL — FINDS IL OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE NOT AN AGFEL — VICTORIA-FAUSTINO V. SESSIONS

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D08-01/C:16-1784:J:Williams:aut:T:fnOp:N:2003083:S:0

Key quote:

“In light of the Ninth Circuit’s decision to remand the petition to the Board for further proceedings, we will not defer to the In re Valenzuela Gallardo articulation of what constitutes a crime relating to the obstruction of justice under the INA. See Cruz v. Sessions, No. 15‐60857, 2017 WL 2115209, at *1 (5th Cir. May 12, 2017) (remanding petition to the Board for further proceedings because the Board relied on “the now‐vacated Valenzuela Gallardo decision … .”) (unpub.). This leaves us with the definition as articulated in In re Espinoza‐Gonzalez. Because the Illinois statute under which Victoria‐Faustino was convicted does not require interference with the proceed‐

No. 16‐1784 13

ings of a tribunal, it cannot be said that the statute categorically fits within the meaning of the INA’s definition of obstruction of justice. Therefore, we must remand this petition to the Board for further proceedings. We caution that we do not, and need not, determine at this juncture whether Victoria‐Faustino is removable under the INA. Rather, we hold that Victoria‐Faustino was improperly placed in the expedited removal proceedings based upon his 2000 Illinois conviction under 720 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/31‐4.”

PANEL: CIRCUIT JUDGES FLAUM, MANION, and WILLIAMS

OPINION BY: JUDGE WILLIAMS

DISSENTING OPINION: JUDGE MANION

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Interesting that the 7th Circuit remands to the BIA, even though it does not appear that proceedings were ever conducted before a U.S. Immigration Judge or appealed to the BIA. In dissent, Judge Manion found that 1) the respondent failed to exhaust administrative remedies, thereby depriving the court of jurisdiction, and 2) that the crime of obstruction of justice under IL law is an agfel.

PWS

08-03-17

7TH FINDS BIA MISAPPLIED SUPREME’S MONCRIEFFE DECISION — IL MARIHUANA CONVICTION NOT DRUG TRAFFICKING CRIME — MING WEI CHEN V. SESSIONS

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D07-20/C:17-1130:J:Wood:aut:T:fnOp:N:1997576:S:

“The Board erred by reading Moncrieffe as if that decision interpreted the CSA’s term “small amount.” Nothing in Moncrieffe supports the conclusion that the possession of a tad more than 30 grams of marijuana—the lowest amount punishable under 720 ILCS § 550/5(d)—can never be punished as a federal misdemeanor. The Board erred as a matter of law in this respect, when it found that Chen’s conviction under that provision qualifies as an aggravated felony.

We GRANT the petition for review and remand to give the Board the opportunity to decide whether to exercise its discretion to grant cancellation of removal.”

PANEL:

WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.

OPINION BY: Chief Judge Wood

*******************************************

Will the BIA, the DOJ, and the DHS ever get the Supreme’s message on trying to expand the reach of the aggravated felony provisions to crimes that really aren’t aggravated, and sometimes aren’t even felonies?

PWS

07-21-17

 

7th Slams IJ, BIA For Mishandling Of Credibility, Corroboration Issues In Moldovan Asylum Case — COJOCARI V. SESSIONS!

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D07-11/C:16-3941:J:Hamilton:aut:T:fnOp:N:1992923:S:0

Key quote:

“We do not often see a timely asylum case where the applicant is a citizen of a country infamous for corruption and political oppression and presents a broadly consistent narrative and substantial corroboration. Yet Cojocari has done just that.

No. 16‐3941 27

Granted, his testimony includes a handful of minor discrep‐ ancies, and a couple of these—notably the timeline involving his university enrollment and the details of his October 2009 hospitalization—might have supported a plausible adverse credibility finding. But most of the discrepancies on which the immigration judge relied are so trivial or illusory that we have no confidence in her analysis or in the Board’s decision resting on that analysis.

Cojocari is entitled to a fresh look at his prior testimony and the evidence he supplied in support of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT. We therefore grant the petition for review. We urge the Board to assign this case to a different immigration judge for the remand proceedings. That is the best way to ensure that Cojocari gets the fair shake he deserves. E.g., Castilho de Oliveira v. Holder, 564 F.3d 892, 900 (7th Cir. 2009); Tadesse v. Gonzales, 492 F.3d 905, 912 (7th Cir. 2007); Bace v. Ashcroft, 352 F.3d 1133, 1141 (7th Cir. 2003); cf. Cir. R. 36 (7th Cir. 2016) (cases remanded for new trial are presumptively assigned to a different district judge).

On remand, the immigration judge should allow counsel for both sides to supplement the record if there is additional evidence (such as Cojocari’s medical book or an updated re‐ port on the political landscape in Moldova) that would assist the judge in assessing the risk of persecution or torture that Cojocari would face if deported.

The petition for review is GRANTED, the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals is VACATED, and the case is REMANDED to the Board for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

PANEL: Chief Judge Wood, Circuit Judges Manion and Hamilton.

OPINION BY: Judge Hamilton

*********************************************************

Gee, who needs training when things like this can get through the system?

 

PWS

07-13-17

 

Unpublished 7th Cir. Provides Sound Advice For U.S. Immigration Judges Who Want to Insure Due Process W/O Becoming Potted Plants! — Hernandez-Alvarez v. Sessions

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D06-27/C:16-3516:J:PerCuriam:aut:T:npDp:N:1985804:S:0

“Next, Hernandez‐Alvarez argues that the judge violated his due process rights by “improperly assum[ing] the role of counsel for the Government.” He asserts that the judge had a “negative attitude” toward his case, “frequently interrupted” his lawyer, and “took over entire lines of questioning.” The judge, he adds, prejudged the case.1

This due process challenge raises a constitutional claim that confers jurisdiction over this part of the petition. See 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D), Kuschchak v. Ashcroft, 366 F.3d 597, 602 (7th Cir. 2004). On the merits, however, the Board did not err by deciding that the judge gave Hernandez‐Alvarez a fair hearing.

An immigration judge has the authority to “interrogate, examine, and cross‐ examine” a petitioner and any other witnesses. 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(b)(1). Immigration judges carry heavy caseloads and do not have time to waste. Like an appellate court, a trial judge in a bench trial can raise questions and try to focus the presentations to the court based on the judge’s understanding of the facts and law. Such efforts do not show that the judge has abandoned an impartial and neutral stance or has prejudged the case. See Barragan‐ Ojeda v. Sessions, 853 F.3d 374, 381–82 (7th Cir. 2017) (“When the IJ does not demonstrate ‘impatience, hostility, or a predisposition against’ an alien’s claim, and where the questions assisted in the development of the record on relevant points, the mere fact that the IJ elicited testimony is not inappropriate and certainly does not raise due process concerns.”); Kharkhan v. Ashcroft, 336 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2003). On the other hand, as

1 Hernandez‐Alvarez relies on the following statement by the judge: “Well, Mr. Metcalf [Hernandez‐Alvarez’s attorney], I don’t see any point in continuing on with the respondent’s case. I just don’t see him eligible for cancellation of removal. I mean, you can continue the questioning, but one, you know, the records show that he has the ’99 conviction for domestic battery causing bodily injury; the Seventh Circuit has found that to be a crime of violence, and so he would be precluded from cancellation of removal eligibility statutorily. Secondly, he has a 2013 for domestic battery or aggravated battery, and he served approximately 150 days in jail. In addition, it’s only recently that the respondent by court order has been reestablishing a relationship with his children. So this case doesn’t even come close to being eligible for cancellation of removal. So do you want to ask some other questions concerning those topics, good moral character?”

No. 16‐3516 Page 5

we explained in Barragan‐Ojeda, that authority can be misused. We will order new hearings where judges have been hostile or abusive or have prevented rather than facilitated presentation of an alien’s case. 853 F.3d at 381, citing Rodriguez Galicia v. Gonzales, 422 F.3d 529, 539 (7th Cir. 2005); Podio v. I.N.S., 153 F.3d 506, 510 (7th Cir. 1998).

In this case, the judge posed appropriate questions that probed Hernandez‐ Alvarez’s statutory eligibility for relief. At the key hearing, both lawyers were new to the case. The judge was already familiar with the relevant circumstances, which did not need to be repeated. The judge’s questions about the extent of the hardship the children would suffer if Hernandez‐Alvarez were removed, the nature of his past criminal convictions, and his physical presence in the United States were right on target. They framed the challenge for Hernandez‐Alvarez and his lawyer, and the judge invited them to present additional evidence.

The process was similar to an appellate argument when a judge explains his or her understanding of the difficulties the lawyer’s client faces and invites response. Hernandez‐Alvarez has not identified any evidence that the judge prevented him from introducing, and his brief overlooks several opportunities the judge gave him to testify as he pleased. See Perez‐Fuentes, 842 F.3d at 511 (explaining that a petitioner does “not have a meaningful opportunity to be heard” when relevant evidence has been wrongly excluded). We also reject the argument that the judge prejudged the case. In the passage quoted in the footnote above, the judge reacted to the facts and evidence, identified the obvious and serious problems with Hernandez‐Alvarez’s application for cancellation of removal, and invited him to address them. That’s what a judge is supposed to do. Accordingly, the portion of the petition for judicial review that is not barred by 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) is DENIED.”

PANEL: Circuit Judges Posner, Kanne, Hamilton

Per Curiam

********************************************

PWS

07-02-17

 

 

7th Cir. Finds Gays Protected By 1964 Civil Rights Act

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/04/court-discrimination-against-gays-is-prohibited-by-federal-law/?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.c296389bf33a

Sandhya Somashekhar reports in the Washington Post:

“A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that workers may not be fired for their sexual orientation, becoming the highest court in the country to find that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gays from workplace discrimination and setting up a possible Supreme Court battle.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, based in Chicago, found that instructor Kimberly Hively was improperly passed over for a full-time job at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, Ind., because she was a lesbian. While the Civil Rights Act does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it bars sex discrimination; the court concluded that the college engaged in sex discrimination by stereotyping Hively based on her gender.

“Hively represents the ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype … she is not heterosexual,” Chief Judge Diane Wood wrote in Tuesday’s opinion. “Hively’s claim is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male workplaces, such as fire departments, construction, and policing.”

The ruling echoes those of a number of lower courts, which have also concluded that discrimination against gays is a prohibited form of sex stereotyping. It conflicts, however, with others, including a ruling last month by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act more narrowly and found that sexual orientation is not a protected class under that law.

A split in the circuits could set up a clash before the Supreme Court.”

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Wonder how Jeff Sessions and his pals are going to react to this one? But, no matter how much some social conservatives and “alt righters” would like to “turn back the clock” to a time when people were “free” to act on their biases and prejudices against others, the cause of LGBT rights is not going to go away.

PWS

04-02-17

 

Judge Posner Slams BIA For Ignoring Evidence Of Worsening Conditions In South Sudan — Deng Arej v. Sessions — 7th Cir.

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D03-28/C:15-2061:J:Posner:aut:T:fnOp:N:1937333:S:0

“Arej has conceded that he qualifies as a criminal alien under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C), so our review of the Board’s decision is limited to issues of law. 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D). But it was a serious legal error for the Board to have ignored Arej’s evidence. As we noted in Iglesias v. Mukasey, 540 F.3d 528, 531 (7th Cir. 2008), the Board cannot make a reasoned decision to deny a motion to reopen if it ignores the evidence that a petitioner presents.

Furthermore, a competent immigration service would not ignore world events. The dramatically worsening conditions in South Sudan have been widely reported, with the young nation described as “cracking apart” and United Nations officials raising concerns about genocide. See, e.g., Jeffrey Gettleman, “War Consumes South Sudan, a Young Nation Cracking Apart,” New York Times, March 4, 2017, https://nyti.ms/2lHeELw. “Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed”; “every major cease‐fire that has been

No. 15‐2061 5

painstakingly negotiated by African and Western officials has been violated”; and “dangerous fissures are opening up within the South Sudanese military.” Id. And time doesn’t stand still. The Board’s order dismissing Arej’s appeal from the immigration judge’s denial of his motion to reopen was issued on May 8, 2015—almost two years ago. Considering that Arej has not yet been removed and that the order was perfunctory, the Board should consider whether he should be allowed to present evidence concerning current conditions in the two Sudans. See 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(a).

The petition for review is therefore granted, the decision of the Board vacated, and the case remanded to the Board for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

***********************************

Seems like a South Sudan case would be a “no brainer” for reopening by the BIA. Not sure we even deport folks there. And, actually reviewing the evidence carefully would be a great first step toward becoming “the world’s best administrative tribunals, guaranteeing fairness and due process for all.” Or, has the vision become just a slogan from bygone years? He’s probably only eligible to apply for withholding or CAT, though, because of the nature of his criminal conviction.

PWS

03/29/17

MATT CAMERON IN THE BAFFLER: Trump’s Immigration Policies Promise To Make A Bad System Even Worse

https://thebaffler.com/outbursts/strangers-in-a-cruel-land?utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=45427323&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–SrQwaCmT1prkolHBKrPKHSN4djFsqLNoveeB1BWE10ZO3rscc5BcXMhmwFedKjGnCbzzw56UKYKQ-sIulUP96Hwj8rw&_hsmi=45427323

“Donald Trump’s presidential campaign capitalized on a familiar brand of nativist anti-immigrant slander usually reserved for our nation’s most desperate times. It was an ugly old vein to mine, but now that he’s managed to strike electoral gold there, he is not wrong to view his election as a mandate to carry out his promise to enforce federal immigration law to its fullest extent. This would be alarming to friends of the Constitution under any circumstances, but especially so given Trump’s open embrace of white supremacy—as a concept, if not a movement—in the primaries. We haven’t encountered such an openly bigoted presidential campaign on the right since Pat Buchanan’s last failed insurgent run at the GOP nomination in 1996, and we have never seen an avowedly white-nationalist leader accede to the Oval Office.
Nor should any of us expect the chastening experience of actual governing to temper his outlook. Trump has proven at every opportunity that he is all but ineducable about even the simplest details of how immigration to the United States actually works. And this, it turns out, is probably one of the few things he has in common with a considerable majority of Americans.”

. . . .

The immigration system I keep hearing about from pundits and politicians (all of whom should know better) is almost entirely unmoored from actual fact. It seems to be a chimerical pastiche of the one we had before Ellis Island closed, the one we had just before the moon landing, and some sort of rosy Tomorrowland fantasy in which visas would be awarded to the undocumented if only they would do it the right way. This is not the system I work with every day.
When a white, native-born American says, “my family came here the right way,” what the speaker almost invariably means is that one or more of his ancestors came to the United States without a visa during a time of virtually unrestricted European migration. They boarded a trans-Atlantic ocean liner, stood in line at an immigration inspection station for the better part of a day, answered a standard series of twenty-nine questions, were subjected to a medical exam, and were admitted indefinitely to the United States. That’s how my Scottish great-grandparents did it in 1916. If you were born in the United States with European ancestors, it’s probably how you came to be here too. That system ended in 1924. Its successor, the “national origins” quota system (a more restricted but still relatively open “line”), was abolished in 1965. But I still regularly meet well-meaning fellow citizens who believe that anyone who deserves a chance can simply “fill out the forms,” “get in line,” and “come the right way, like my family did.” At which point, I have to patiently explain that they can’t.

For most of my undocumented neighbors, in East Boston and beyond, there are no forms. There is no line. There never was. Telling an undocumented Mexican dishwasher that he should “wait in line, like my family did” is no more realistic than advising him to switch to the same model of iPhone your great-grandfather used. Yet the lie persists, with nearly every presidential candidate since George H. W. Bush invoking the imaginary “line.”

. . . .

[Bill] O’Reilly was too charitable. There is no reason to believe that Trump has ever understood the basic precepts of due-process protection. Commitment to due process would have been fundamentally incompatible with Trump’s record as a casino magnate, a New York City landlord, or an authoritarian game show host given unlimited license to “fire” contestants at whim.

Trump has signaled the likely place of due process in his immigration system by promising to immediately deport 2 to 3 million “criminal aliens.” This staggering number, nearly the entire urban population of Chicago, would represent more deportations than Obama (the current record-holder) completed in eight years, and more than twice as many as were carried out during Operation Wetback.

. . . .

In fifty-eight immigration courts nationwide, immigration judges are operating (per a recent study) at a degree of mental stress equivalent to that of an emergency-room doctor. “This case,” sneered federal judge Richard Posner in a recent dissent, “involves a typical botch by an immigration judge.” Posner, punching down from the lofty heights of a federal appeals court, went on to concede graciously that the immigration court’s status as “the least competent federal agency,” might have something to do with congressional underfunding and the resultant “crushing workloads.”
Our nation’s roughly 250 immigration judges [now approximately 305] are now responsible for managing a record backlog of more than five hundred thousand pending deportation cases, with thousands more pouring into the system each day. The judges I appear before in the Boston immigration court are humane and learned experts who work long hours, in circumstances that couldn’t be less familiar to Judge Posner, but they are as susceptible to human error as any judge anywhere.

In an executive order signed within days of his inauguration, Trump authorized Congress to triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on the ground. He has made no mention of any plans to extend the courts the same courtesy, but this new flow of cases simply cannot be sustained within today’s judicial plumbing.”

*********************************

Cameron’s full, hard-hitting article is definitely worth a read. And, as he points out, quite sadly, it’s likely to get much worse from a due process standpoint before it gets better.

I also think he is right that few U.S. Court of Appeals Judges would be able to survive working as U.S. Immigration Judges under today’s incredibly difficult circumstances and conditions.

PWS

03/15/17

 

Judge Posner, Split 7th Circuit, Slam IJ, BIA On Denial Of Protection To Honduran With HIV!

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D01-19/C:15-2619:J:Posner:aut:T:fnOp:N:1898108:S:0

********************************

The case, full text at the above link, is VELASQUEZ‐BANEGAS, v. LYNCH.  

I agree with Judge Posner’s bottom line that protection should have been granted on this record.  But, I think that he was overly harsh on the Immigration Judge.

These would be difficult cases for any judge at any level of our system.  One of the significant problems is that the Appellate Division of the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) has failed to provide adequate positive guidance on granting protection.

The overwhelming number of BIA precedent cases dealing with asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture are denials by the BIA.  But, even with asylum grant levels leveling off and actually falling slightly over the past several years, the majority of applicants for protection actually qualify for some form of relief at the trial level based on fear of persecution or torture.

The unnecessarily negative approach of the BIA in its precedent decisions both gives a misleading negative guidance to Immigration Judges and creates the impression with U.S. Court of Appeals Judges that the system is even more skewed against applicants than it actually is.

Although I agreed with the majority in Velasquez, I think that the concluding paragraph of the Judge Ripple’s dissent also makes some good points:

“Immigration cases always pose a special burden on United States judges. As Jacques Maritain so eloquently put it: “We are all wounded souls.” See Jacques Maritain, Réflexions sur lʹAmerique 87–91 (1958). Every American, including every United States judge, has a family memory that includes ancestors who came from some place where life was not as good as it is here. The DNA of our national character makes it very difficult to tell an individual that he cannot enjoy the same liberty, safety, and security that we enjoy. When the individual suffers from a medical condition that cannot be treated as well in the country to which he is returned, basic humanitarian values make the task even more difficult. No doubt, those who must make necessary policy choices and those who must enforce those choices feel, or should feel, that same angst. But immigration must be regulated, and, in this Country, national policy is set by Congress and enforced by the Executive. Our own task as judges is limited. Because the immigration judge’s determinations were supported by substantial evidence, I respectfully dissent.”

Food for thought.

PWS

01/23/17

 

David Leopold Warns About Possible Five-Point Attack On Immigrants By Attorney General Sessions

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/five-chilling-ways-senator-jeff-sessions-could-attack-immigrants-as-attorney-general_us_5870022ce4b099cdb0fd2ef7

“As the nation’s top lawyer, head of the immigration court, and civil rights officer, Jeff Sessions would have access to multiple tools to harm immigrants and undermine due process. Given his rhetoric and record as a United States Senator, as well as his association with anti-immigrant extremists, there is every reason to believe he would use all of them.

Here are five ways Sessions could attempt to undermine immigrants and immigration policy if confirmed as Attorney General:

Impose his radical, anti-immigrant ideology on decisions by the federal immigration courts;

Expand the number of immigrants who are deported even though they qualify for a green card or asylum;

Reduce access to legal counsel and information about immigrants’ legal rights;

Criminalize immigrants by bringing trumped up charges against ordinary workers; and

Strong arm state and local police to become Trump deportation agents

Of course, any attempt Sessions would make to undermine civil and due process rights will be met by strong litigation from the outside. But the U.S. Senate should block his confirmation from the start, as Senator Sessions is highly unqualified for this position and has showed a profound disregard for civil and human rights.”

***********************************

Sorry, David, but Jeff Sessions has the votes to be confirmed as the next Attorney General.  Those who don’t like that can rant, but that’s not going to change the reality that Donald Trump won the Presidential election and the Republicans firmly control both Houses of Congress.

When you lose elections at the national and state levels, like the Democrats did, you end up with next to no leverage on appointments or policies unless you can reach across the aisle and strike a chord with at least some Republicans.  Right now, it appears that all Republican Senators, and probably a few Democrats, ewill vote for Senator Sessions’s confirmation.  Whatever his pros and cons, Senator Sessions appears to have had the wisdom to be polite and cordial to his colleagues and to occasionally reach across the aisle on issues of common interest.  Rightly or wrongly, that seems to count for a lot when current or former Senators come up for confirmation to Executive Branch positions.

So barring a “bombshell” next week, and I must say his record has been “flyspecked” — regardless of what he put in the Judiciary Committee questionnaire — that’s unlikely.  For better or worse, Senator Session’s views on a wide variety of subjects and his conduct as a public servant over many decades are a matter of public record.  Nothing in that record seems to have given pause to any of his Republican Senate colleagues.

That being said, it woulds be nice to think that upon hearing some of the criticisms, Jeff Sessions will reflect on the huge differences between being a Senator from Alabama, the Attorney General of Alabama, and a U.S. Attorney for Alabama, and the wider responsibilities of being the chief law enforcement official, legal adviser, and litigator representing all of the People of the United States, not just the Trump Administration.

David is, of course, correct to focus on Attorney General Session’s vast authority over immigration.  He will control a huge and critically important U.S. Immigration Court System currently sporting a backlog of more than one-half million cases and suffering from chronically inadequate judicial administration and lack of basic technology like e-filing.  While there certainly is an interrelationship among civil rights, human rights, and due process in the Immigration Courts, there is every reason to believe that Attorney General Session’s biggest impact will be in the field of immigration.

If things go as David predicts, then the battle over fundamental fairness and due process in immigration policy and the Immigration Courts is likely to be fought out in the Article III Federal Courts, which, unlike the Immigration Courts, aren’t under Executive control.  That will have some drawbacks for everyone, but particularly for the Trump Administration.

And, if Sessions is wise, he’ll look back at what happened when the Bush Administration tried to promote a “rubber stamp” approach to justice and due process in the Immigration Courts.  The U.S. Courts of Appeals were outraged at the patent lack of due process and fundamental fairness as “not quite ready for prime time” cases were “streamlined” and thrown into the Courts of Appeals for review with glaring factual errors and remarkable legal defects. Not totally incidentally, this also dramatically increased their workload, with judicial review of immigration matters occupying a majority of the docket in several prominent circuits.

As a result, cases were returned to the Board of Immigration Appeals, who then returned them to the Immigration Courts for “re-dos,” in droves. The Courts of Appeals lost faith in the Executive’s ability to run a fundamentally fair, high quality Immigration Court System, and basically placed the Immigration Courts into “judicial receivership” until things stabilized at least somewhat. The waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars caused by this “haste makes waste” approach was beyond contemplation and, for a time, threatened to paralyze the entire American justice system.

Additionally, it would be a huge mistake for the Trump Administration to view the Bush Administration’s Immigration Court debacle as the product of “bleeding heart liberal appellate judges” appointed by President Bill Clinton.  The criticism from Article III Judges cut across political lines.  Two of the most outspoken judicial critics of the Bush Administration’s handling of the U.S. Immigration Courts were Republican appointees:  then Chief Judge John M. Walker, Jr. of the Second Circuit and Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit. Indeed, Judge Walker is a cousin of former President George H.W. Bush.

Obviously, those who favor greater immigration enforcement won the election and are going to have a chance to try out their policies. But, “enhanced enforcement” is likely to be effective only if we have a fair, impartial, and totally due process oriented Immigration Court System.

In other words, the Immigration Courts must be a “level playing field” with judges who, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, play the role of “impartial umpires” between those seeking to stay in our country and those seeking to remove them.  Results from such a due-process oriented system would be more likely to inspire confidence from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, thereby increasing the stature of the Immigration Courts and their ability to achieve final resolutions at the initial, and most cost-efficient, level of our justice system.  Due process and fairness in the Immigration Court System should be a nonpartisan common interest no matter where one stands on other aspects of  the “immigration debate.”

We are about to find out what Attorney General Jeff Sessions has in mind for the U.S. Immigration Courts and the rest of the U.S. justice system.  I’m hoping for the best, but preparing to assert the essential constitutional requirement for due process in the Immigration Courts if, as David predicts, it comes under attack.

Due Process Forever!

PWS

01/07/16

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Immigration Court’s Vision Is All About Best Practices, Guaranteeing Fairness, And Due Process — 7th Circuit’s Judge Posner Thinks It’s A “Farce” — Blames Congressional Underfunding!

https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/insidenews/archive/2016/12/31/let-39-s-close-out-2016-with-a-posner-dissent-chavarria-reyes-v-lynch.aspx?Redirected=true

“POSNER, Circuit Judge, dissenting. This case involves a typical botch by an immigration judge. No surprise: the Im‐ migration Court, though lodged in the Justice Department, is the least competent federal agency, though in fairness it may well owe its dismal status to its severe underfunding by Congress, which has resulted in a shortage of immigration judges that has subjected them to crushing workloads. See, e.g., Julia Preston, “Deluged Immigration Courts, Where Cases Stall for Years, Begin to Buckle,” NY Times, Dec. 1, 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/us/deluged‐immigratio n‐courts‐where‐cases‐stall‐for‐years‐begin‐to‐buckle.html?_r =0 (visited Dec. 30, 2016).”

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Go on over to Dan Kowalski on LexisNexis Immigration Community and read the full opinion and Judge P’s full dissent in Chavarria-Reyes v. Lynch.

Also, read Julia Preston’s article in the NY Times, cited by Judge Posner, quoting (and picturing) me here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/01/us/deluged-immigration-courts-where-cases-stall-for-years-begin-to-buckle.html

PWS

01/02/17