EOIR INVESTS ELEVEN NEW U.S. IMMIGRATION JUDGES — PRIVATE SECTOR TOTALLY SHUT OUT!

Here are the bios of the new U.S. Immigration Judges:

IJInvestiture06162017

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This brings the total number of sitting U.S. Immigration Judges to 326. Congratulations to the new Judges, and please don’t forget the due process mission of the U.S. Immigration Courts!

Unfortunately, however, this continues the trend of creating a one-sided U.S. Immigration Court which basically has excluded from the 21st Century Immigration Judiciary those who gained all or most of their experience representing respondents, teaching, or writing in the public sector. It’s not particularly surprising that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has expressed a strong enforcement bias, would prefer to “go to the Government well” for all or most of his selections.

However, the real problem here is with the DOJ during the Obama Administration.  With a chance to fill perhaps a record number of U.S. Immigration Judge positions over eight years, and to create an evenly balanced, diverse Immigration Judiciary in the process, they not only turned the hiring process in to a ridiculous two-year average cycle, but also selected 88% of the candidates from Government backgrounds.

Why would someone take two years for a selection process that selects from a limited inside pool anyway? And, why would you lead outside applicants to take the time to apply, believing they had a fair chance of competing, when the process obviously was “fixed” in favor of insiders? Sort of reminds me of the discussion of the labor certification recruitment process that we recently had in my Immigration Law & Policy Class at Georgetown Law!

Just more ways in which the “Due Process Vision” of the U.S. Immigration Courts has basically been trashed by the last three Administrations!

PWS

06-19-17

THE ATLANTIC: Priscilla Alvarez Analyzes The Trump/GOP Push For “Merit-Based” Immigration!

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/trump-cotton-perdue-merit-based-immigration-system/518985/

Alvarez writes:

“President Trump’s proposal to shift towards a “merit-based” immigration system would upend an approach that has existed for half a century.

Since the 1960s, the United States’ immigration system has largely based entry on family ties, giving preference to those with relatives who are citizens. But in his first address to a joint session of Congress in February, Donald Trump proposed moving away from that policy, focusing instead on an immigration system that would prioritize high-skilled immigrants.

Trump and his advisors have argued that the current levels of immigration harm American workers by lowering wages and preventing assimilation. A merit-based system, restrictionist advocates believe, would help lower immigration rates and ensure that the immigrants who do come are high-skilled workers who never need public assistance. “The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers,” Trump said in his speech to Congress.

While the president has yet to offer details, a merit-based system would pose its own challenges to economic prosperity. Critics believe that  a merit-based system that prioritizes high-skilled workers could hurt the economy by harming industries that rely on low-skill immigrant labor, and that fears that immigrants are not assimilating or are overly reliant on the social safety net are overblown.

The first example of the U.S. establishing qualifications for new immigrants was in 1917, when the government imposed a literacy test on those seeking to enter the country. In the 1960s, Congress lifted restrictions that heavily curtailed immigration from non-European nations, and reshaped the immigration system toward prioritizing admission of close relatives of immigrants already living in the United States. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are now admitted through that family-preference system, which significantly changed the ethnic composition of U.S. immigrant population by admitting more Latin American and Asian immigrants.

In 2015, for example, of the more than one million legal permanent residents admitted, “44 percent were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, [and] 20 percent entered through a family-sponsored preference,” according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. Only 14 percent of those admitted came through a job-based preference. The “merit-based” immigration system, in theory, would increase the latter figure, as it would prioritize those who are highly educated and therefore considered more employable.

Such a policy would likely limit the supply of low-skilled workers, and might allow the administration to filter which immigrants it chooses to admit. And a merit-based immigration system could also help realize a longtime conservative policy goal—a reduction in the number of immigrants admitted overall.

Some Republican lawmakers have already pushed for legislation that would limit legal immigration. Last month, Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue introduced legislation that would cut the number of immigrants legally admitted to the United States in half. It would do so in part by limiting the number of family members immigrants can sponsor for citizenship, a policy long sought by immigration restrictionist groups.

Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which supports curtailing immigration, said a merit-based approach could reduce the flow of immigrants coming into the United States. “The merit-system is also a surrogate for moving away from a system that the country doesn’t really get to control and regulate how many come in every year and who they are because of chain migration, the family-preference system,” Stein said, adding that a points system would be one part of the whole.

Nevertheless, assessing “merit” is difficult. A system that deliberately excluded low-skilled workers might raise labor costs in industries that rely on those workers, increasing prices for consumers but boosting wages for workers.”

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Read the full article at the link.

Third-year law student Saurabh Gupta introduced this article as part of our class discussion of “Family-Based Immigration” during my Immigration Law and Policy class at Georgetown Law last week. Needless to say, it provoked a lively and informative discussion, with students exploring the arguments on both sides as well of the practicalities of running such a system on a larger scale.

PWS

06-10-17

HOYA LAW REDUX — IMMIGRATION LAW & POLICY — Summer 2017 — Read “Welcome To the Breakfast Club: Introduction To Immigration Law & Policy, Georgetown Law Summer 2017 Edition”

I walked into Room 5020 at Hotung Hall. Windows, daylight! Wow! I felt almost like I had achieved tenure! After a two-year hiatus, I was back as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown. This time, I was off of the “night shift” and out of the windowless subterranian classroom in McDonough Hall. I think McDonough was where, as a newly hired Attorney Adviser at the Board of Immigration Appeals,  I took “Immigration Law & Procedure” in 1974 from the late Charles Gordon, then General Counsel of the INS and Adjunct Professor. Perhaps in the same classroom.

The students filed in. The energy and brain waves (certainly not mine) zinged around the room. A number of PhDs, a Chemist, a Patent Examiner, a licensed Social Worker, someone with a “big law” job already lined up — some working on second, or even third careers, others just getting started. Bright, curious, engaged. They had already accomplished impressive things, but wanted to achieve more. No “traditional immigration junkies,” but all had some personal connection with immigration and a desire to learn more.

And, they were highly motivated. Everyone did the first assignment and reported on what they had learned. As a teacher, doesn’t get much better.

I wasn’t sure I could make this happen. Although retired from the court, I’m actually more or less “booked” for various family, professional, and educational events through next October! So, when Georgetown contacted me, I initially was hesitant. But, with the help of Tiffany Joly, Director of LLM Academic Services and the incomparable Sarah Kinney, Assistant Director of LLM Academic Services, we were able to “compress” the summer semester into an intensive five weeks. I have always been impressed with the helpfulness and skill of the Georgetown Law administrators. Everyone knows exactly what they are doing, and they always patiently explain the process to, and meet the needs of, Adjunct Professors. It makes Georgetown a great place to teach. I’m also glad that my good friend, Professor Andy Schoenholtz, a Director of the CALS Asylum Clinic at Georgetown, brought me into the “Georgetown family” in 2012 and helped me return this summer.

Here’s the text of my “introductory lecture.” Although some of you have read earlier versions, there is some “new stuff” in here.

Welcome To The Breakfast Club-GeorgetownILP2017

PWS

05-31-17