🤡WELCOME TO CLOWN COURT: Where The Lives Of Millions Of Humans & The Future Of America Are Treated Like A Cruel Joke, As Complicit Article III Courts Watch This Grotesque Unconstitutional Spectacle & Parody Of Justice Unfold On Their Watch!

Kate Brumback
Kate Brumback
Associated Press
Deepti Hajela
Associated Press, NY
Amy Taxin
Amy Taxin
Associated Press



In a locked, guarded courtroom in a compound surrounded by razor wire, Immigration Judge Jerome Rothschild waits — and stalls.

A Spanish interpreter is running late because of a flat tire. Rothschild tells the five immigrants before him that he’ll take a break before the proceedings even start. His hope: to delay just long enough so these immigrants won’t have to sit by, uncomprehendingly, as their futures are decided.

“We are, untypically, without an interpreter,” Rothschild tells a lawyer who enters the courtroom at the Stewart Detention Center after driving down from Atlanta, about 140 miles away.

In its disorder, this is, in fact, a typical day in the chaotic, crowded and confusing U.S. immigration court system of which Rothschild’s courtroom is just one small outpost.

Shrouded in secrecy, the immigration courts run by the U.S. Department of Justice have been dysfunctional for years and have only gotten worse. A surge in the arrival of asylum seekers and the Trump administration’s crackdown on the Southwest border and illegal immigration have pushed more people into deportation proceedings, swelling the court’s docket to 1 million cases.

“It is just a cumbersome, huge system, and yet administration upon administration comes in here and tries to use the system for their own purposes,” says Immigration Judge Amiena Khan in New York City, speaking in her role as vice president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.

“And in every instance, the system doesn’t change on a dime, because you can’t turn the Titanic around.”

The Associated Press visited immigration courts in 11 different cities more than two dozen times during a 10-day period in late fall. In courts from Boston to San Diego, reporters observed scores of hearings that illustrated how crushing caseloads and shifting policies have landed the courts in unprecedented turmoil:

–Chasing efficiency, immigration judges double- and triple-book hearings that can’t possibly be completed, leading to numerous cancellations. Immigrants get new court dates, but not for years.

–Young children are everywhere and sit on the floor or stand or cry in cramped courtrooms. Many immigrants don’t know how to fill out forms, get records translated or present a case.

— Frequent changes in the law and rules for how judges manage their dockets make it impossible to know what the future holds when immigrants finally have their day in court. Paper files are often misplaced, and interpreters are often missing.

In Georgia, the interpreter assigned to Rothschild’s courtroom ends up making it to work, but the hearing sputters moments later when a lawyer for a Mexican man isn’t available when Rothschild calls her to appear by phone. Rothschild is placed on hold, and a bouncy beat overlaid with synthesizers fills the room.

He moves on to other cases — a Peruvian asylum seeker, a Cuban man seeking bond — and punts the missing lawyer’s case to the afternoon session.

This time, she’s there when he calls, and apologizes for not being available earlier, explaining through a hacking cough she’s been sick.

But by now the interpreter has moved on to another courtroom, putting Rothschild in what he describes as the “uneasy position” of holding court for someone who can’t understand what’s going on.

“I hate for a guy to leave a hearing having no idea what happened,” he says, and asks the lawyer to relay the results of the proceedings to her client in Spanish.

After some discussion, the lawyer agrees to withdraw the man’s bond petition and refile once she can show he’s been here longer than the government believes, which could help his chances.

For now, the man returns to detention.

. . . .


Read the full article at the link.  Yes, there’s lots of blame to go around: Administrations of both parties, an irresponsible Congress, several decades of underfunding and poor management.

But that doesn’t change these simple truths:

  • We have a scofflaw regime that glories in committing “crimes against humanity” directed at migrants;
  • We have a feckless Congress that won’t legislate responsibly as long as “Moscow Mitch” McConnell and his Trump-toady GOP control the Senate;
  • The only branch of Government that could put a stop to this unconstitutional and unconscionable mess is the Article III Federal Judiciary;
  • And, this highly privileged group of jurists, the only public officials I’m aware of with the “protective insulation” of life tenure, has stood by and watched their fellow humans being “thrown to the lions” in this disgraceful display of unconstitutional injustice.

Do your duty Article IIIs and put an end to the EOIR Clown Show! History is recording your failures to act, every day!

Due Process Forever; Clown Courts 🤡 and Their Complicit Enablers, Never!



ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: BIA Appellate Immigration Judge Linda Wendtland To Retire


Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust…

—“Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen


ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: BIA Appellate Immigration Judge Linda Wendtland To Retire


By Paul Wickham Schmidt

Exclusive for Courtside


Alexandria, VA, Jan. 16, 2019. Appellate Immigration Judge Linda Wendtland will soon retire from the BIA. Acting Chair Garry D. Malphrus made the announcement to judges and staff.

Judge Wendtland is the fourth veteran appellate jurist to leave the BIA recently, following the retirements of Judges Patricia Cole, John Guendelsberger, and Molly Kendall Clark at the end of 2019. Additionally, former BIA Chair Judge David Neal retired suddenly in October.

Thus, the Trump regime’s aggressive effort to “dumb down” and weaponize the U.S. Immigration Courts as a means of depriving migrants of any semblance of due process of law appears to be taking its toll on our nation’s highest administrative immigration tribunal. The BIA now has six vacancies among its 21 authorized judges, including the Chair. Based on recent hiring, we can expect only candidates with established pro-enforcement records and inordinately high rates of asylum denial to be appointed to BIA judgeships by Attorney General Barr.

Judge Wendtland was appointed in 2008 by Attorney General Mukasey, following a long career as a senior litigator in the Office of Immigration Litigation in the DOJ’s Civil Division. She is generally regarded as scholarly, analytical, and occasionally willing to take positions favoring migrants rather than DHS in appellate decisions, notwithstanding her government litigation background. The qualities of scholarship, impartial analysis, and decisional independence appear to have fallen “out of vogue” in the selection of Immigration Judges at both the trial and appellate levels in the Trump regime’s DOJ.

Indeed, and shockingly to those of us in the Round Table of Former Immigration Judges, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly emphasized that Immigration Judges should be “partners” with DHS enforcement while he spread false, unsupported narratives about widespread asylum fraud and “dirty” immigration lawyers. Many found these biased statements of expected “judicial subservience” to a highly politicized and controversial immigration enforcement agenda to be astounding, particularly since most of the “fraud” that has come to light recently relates to the regime’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and denial of their due process and legal rights to apply for protection in the United States. All of the actions to date by Attorney General Barr show that he shares the same biased, enforcement skewed view of the Immigration Courts as mere appendages of DHS enforcement as did his predecessor.

Judge Wendtland’s departure will be yet another blow to the few remnants of EOIR’s once proud, but now forgotten and despised, “vision” of “through teamwork and innovation, be the world’s best administrative tribunals guaranteeing fairness and due process for all.” Sadly, that’s now become a cruel joke for many endangered asylum seekers being rejected at our Southern Border without any semblance of fairness or due process whatsoever.

Thanks for your service, Judge Wendtland, and best wishes in the future.







THE NDPA STRIKES BACK:  ACLU Sues In DC To End The Regime’s Bogus “Safe Third Country” Abuse Of Human Rights & The Rule Of Law! — Regime’s Actions Could Be Characterized As “Crimes Against Humanity!”

Camilo Montoya-Galvez
Camilo Montoya-Galvez
CBS Journalist



Camilo Montoya-Galvez reports for CBS News:


 ACLU files lawsuit to halt Trump policy of sending asylum-seekers to Guatemala

Washington — The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday mounted the first legal challenge against the Trump administration’s policy of sending migrants who seek protection at the U.S.-Mexico border to Guatemala, a country with a skeletal asylum regime that has seen an exodus of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens in the past two years because of extreme poverty and endemic violence.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks to halt the implementation of a controversial asylum agreement with the Guatemalan government. Under the deal forged last summer, the U.S. has sent more than 150 asylum-seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala, denying them access to America’s asylum system and requiring them to choose between seeking refuge in the Central American country or returning home.

The agreement, the ACLU said in its 54-page complaint, amounts to “a deadly game of musical chairs that leaves many desperate asylum-seekers without a safe haven, in violation of U.S. and international law.”

“If this rule remains in effect, it means that the U.S. can completely wash their hands of any responsibility to provide safe haven for people fleeing persecution,” Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s top immigration litigator, told CBS News. “It would end asylum at the southern border, plain and simple.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told CBS News that while it cannot comment on litigation, “the U.S. Government and the Government of Guatemala remain committed to the asylum cooperative agreement and stand behind the integrity of the program.”

For lead plaintiff, returning home isn’t an option

As of last week, 158 Honduran and Salvadoran migrants have been rerouted by the U.S. to Guatemala, including dozens of families and at least 43 children, according to the Guatemalan migration institute. Nine people initially chose to request protection in Guatemala, but five of them have since abandoned their claims, the institute said. The rest have asked for help returning to their home countries.

The lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s lawsuit is a gay man from El Salvador who was sent by the U.S. to Guatemala after asking for asylum at the southern border. The man, identified only by the initials U.T., says he was sexually abused as a child, disowned by his family because of his sexuality and threatened by a gang member who solicited him for sex in El Salvador.

When he arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, he was told he would be sent to Guatemala. He told Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, who make the initial determination about whether migrants should be subject to the U.S.-Guatemala deal, that he feared being sent to Guatemala. His concerns fell on deaf ears.

He was then referred for an interview with an asylum officer and again expressed fear of persecution in Guatemala. Nonetheless, he was deported to the country shortly afterward.

During these types of interviews, migrants must affirmatively say they fear being sent to Guatemala. Even if they do, they have to meet a fear of persecution threshold that is much higher than that of the typical “credible fear” interviews most asylum-seekers at the southern border are subject to.

The ACLU says the man applied for asylum once in Guatemala, but officials there advised him to seek protection in Mexico instead, since Guatemala is “unsafe for gay people.” The State Department warns of “societal discrimination” and police abuse against LGBTI people in Guatemala.

Returning to El Salvador is not an option for the asylum-seeker, who is currently in Mexico, since he “fears that he will be attacked or killed for his sexual orientation if he tries to live openly as a gay man,” according to the ACLU.

“A way for the U.S. to simply pass the buck”

There are five other individual plaintiffs in the ACLU’s lawsuit, including a woman and two families who were sent to Guatemala by the U.S. The Tahirih Justice Center and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, two organizations that provide legal services to asylum-seekers, are also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit — which the National Immigrant Justice Center, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies and Human Rights First joined the ACLU in filing.

The group is asking the court to prohibit officials from enforcing a regulation the administration unveiled in November to implement the Guatemala deal and similar agreements that the U.S. brokered with Honduras and El Salvador which have not yet been implemented. The suit also challenges a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidance document for asylum officers carrying out the agreement.

The ACLU alleged that both measures violate U.S. statutes designed to prevent officials from sending asylum-seekers to places where they may face persecution and that provide legal safeguards for migrants the government seeks to deport quickly. The group also said the policy violates administrative law, since the administration did not give the public a chance to comment on it and failed to provide “reasoned explanations” for dramatically changing the asylum system at the southern border.

The administration maintains that its agreements with Guatemala and the other countries in Central America’s Northern Triangle will foster the “distribution” of asylum claims among nations in the region and provide protection to migrants “closer to home.” But the ACLU says the so-called “Asylum Cooperative Agreements” represent a dramatic departure from the “safe third country” provision in U.S. law that the administration is using to defend their legality.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law an act that codified the “safe third country” concept, allowing the U.S. to enter into bilateral or multilateral agreements to send asylum-seekers to third countries, as long as the U.S. government made sure those asylum-seekers would not face persecution based on a protected ground under U.S. asylum law and would have access to a “full and fair” process to request protection in those nations.

Gelernt and his group believe the accords with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras violate this law because the countries do not have fully functioning asylum regimes, unlike Canada — the only nation which has an official “safe third country” agreement with the U.S.

“There is no way the administration can plausibly claim that Guatemala can provide a safe, fair and full asylum process. This administration has simply thumbed their nose at Congress,” Gelernt said, noting that Canada, a developed country with a robust asylum system, is a safe place for refugees.

“This is not a way to provide people with a fair asylum process but a way for the U.S. to simply pass the buck,” he added.

Guatemala has experienced moderate economic growth since the end of a bloody civil war in the 1990s, but it continues to grapple with high homicides rates, drug trafficking, political instability and widespread poverty, especially among its large indigenous communities in the Western highlands of the country. Only about 262 migrants sought refuge in Guatemala in 2018, according to the United Nations.

The ACLU also noted in its lawsuit that the Trump administration hasn’t publicly revealed any designations certifying that the Northern Triangle countries have the capacity to take in migrants rerouted there by the U.S., despite a requirement that such a certification be included in the government regulation to enforce the asylum agreements.

Sweeping implications for asylum-seekers

All three agreements the U.S. made last year suggest that they could grant the U.S. the power to reroute most asylum-seekers from any country in the world, barring a few exceptions, like unaccompanied children, to Central America. The ACLU underscored the sweeping nature of the deals in its suit, saying that in practice, the U.S. could send asylum-seekers from Afghanistan to one of the Northern Triangle countries, even if they did not travel through there to get to the U.S. southern border.

The administration believes it can include “all populations” in the agreements, and it recently announced it was planning to send Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala. The move sparked scathing criticism at home and abroad, with Mexico’s government objecting to the proposal.

Unlike migrants from Honduras and El Salvador, Mexican asylum-seekers do not travel through Guatemalan territory to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. A plan to subject Mexicans to the U.S.-Guatemala accord could, in practice, lead to the U.S. flying a Mexican asylum-seeker from Tijuana, San Diego’s neighboring city, some 1,500 miles away, asking her to seek protection in Guatemala.

How Guatemala continues to implement its “Asylum Cooperative Agreement” with the Trump administration will now be decided by conservative government of President Alejandro Giammattei, who took office on Tuesday.

The asylum agreements with countries in Central America are part of a series of policies the administration rolled out over the past year to restrict asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. These also include a sweeping rule that renders most non-Mexican migrants ineligible for asylum and the Migrant Protection Protocols program, which has required more than 57,000 asylum-seekers from Central America to wait in dangerous Mexican border cities for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings.

First published on January 15, 2020 / 4:19 PM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



The bogus “Safe Third Country Agreements” with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, clearly unsafe countries without functioning asylum systems, in violation of U.S. and international laws, are daunting acts of malicious fraud. This fraud is undertaken, in the open, by a neo-fascist regime that has contempt for humanity and human rights, believes itself above the law, and has no fear of being held accountable by the Federal Courts or Congress (notwithstanding Trump’s impeachment).


The regime’s unlawful fraudulent actions are defended in court by DOJ lawyers who believe the obligation of truthfulness before tribunals and other ethical requirements simply don’t apply to them. And, that’s probably with good reason.


The Trump regime has been peddling lies, false narratives, and bad faith legal arguments to the Federal Courts, all the way up to the Supremes, for nearly three years now with no consequences to the lawyers or their political clients. Indeed, Wilbur Ross lied under oath in the “Census Case,” but continues to be the Secretary of Commerce; to my knowledge, the Government lawyers who tried to present, defend, and rationalize. Ross’s census fraud are still on the payroll. A few Supremes even voted to sweep it all under the rug. It took an unusual display of backbone by Chief Justice Roberts to prevent the fraud from being perpetrated on American voters, particularly targeting voters of color.


Private lawyers who conducted themselves in a similar manner would likely be facing state disciplinary proceedings. A private executive who lied under oath like Ross probably would have been referred for a perjury prosecution or held in contempt of court.


But, Federal Judges, who are used to giving U.S. government lawyers pretty much a “free pass,” don’t seem to “get” that they are now dealing with a willfully corrupt, thoroughly dishonest, neo-fascist regime, not “just another Administration.”


When the laws, rules, and our Constitution don‘t apply to our Government, and nobody is held accountable for outrageous official wrongdoing (arguably “crimes against humanity” in the “Safe Third Country Fraud”) we all lose!


Due Process Forever! Complicity In The Face Of Tyranny, Never!





BAD NEWS FOR TEX. GOV. “GREG THE BIGOT” ABBOTT: U.S. District Judge Blocks Trump’s Illegal Anti-Refugee Order — But, Will Often Complicit Appellate Courts Uphold The Rule Of Law Or “Toady Up” To The Trump Regime’s White Nationalist Agenda?

Michelle Hackman
Michelle Hackman
Immigration Reporter
Wall Street Journal
Brent Kendall;
Brent Kendall
Legal Affairs Reporter
Wall Street Journal;


Brent Kendall and Michelle Hackman report for the WSJ:

A fed­eral judge in Mary­land blocked Pres­i­dent Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der giv­ing state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments the abil­ity to say no to hav­ing refugees placed in their com­mu­ni­ties.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Pe­ter J. Mes­sitte is­sued a pre­lim­inary in­junc­tion Wednes­day that barred the ad­min­is­tration from im­ple­ment­ing the pres­i­dent’s or­der. He said refugee-re­set­tle­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions that sued to chal­lenge the pol­icy “are clearly likely to suc­ceed in show­ing, that, by giv­ing states and lo­cal gov­ernments veto power over the re­set­tle­ment of refugees within their bor­ders, the or­der is un­law­ful.”

Giv­ing states the power to de­ter­mine whether refugees will be re­ceived “flies in the face of clear con­gres­sional in­tent,” Judge Mes­sitte, a Clin­ton ap­pointee, said in the opin­ion.

. . . .


Those with WSJ access can read the complete article at the above link.

This “victory” might be little more than symbolic for refugee advocates. In an unprecedented action, the Trump Administration has slowed the flow of legal refugees to a trickle and could simply use the “bureaucratic veto” to prevent any more from coming, as they have gotten away with in other areas.

Certainly, this should give lie to the Trump Administration’s inevitable argument to Federal Appeals Courts that this is an “emergency” requiring them to intervene prior to the completion of District Court proceedings. But, up until now, neither law nor reality has been much of a factor when it comes to the Supremes, and sometimes the Circuits, going “belly up” and allowing the regime to run roughshod over human lives and the rule of law in the immigration and refugee areas. 

Chief Justice Roberts wonders why the judiciary is treated with contempt by the regime and is losing respect from the large majority of the legal community not subservient to Trump. The answer is all too often pretty obvious.

Per MKL, Jr.:Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It’s an important message that all too many Federal Judges and other (supposedly responsible) public officials seem to have forgotten in the “Age of Trump” and his corrupt and overtly White Nationalist regime.



WHEN ARTICLE III COURTS FAIL: U.S. “Orbits” Refugee Families To Dangerous Chaos In Guatemala Under Clearly Fraudulent “Safe Third Country” Arrangements As Feckless U.S. Courts Fail To Enforce Constitutional Due Process & U.S. Asylum Laws In Face Of Trump Regime’s Contemptuous Scofflaw Conduct!


Kevin Sieff
Kevin Sieff
Latin American Correspondent, Washington Post

Kevin Sieff reports from Guatemala for WashPost:


Kevin Sieff

Jan. 14, 2020 at 4:21 p.m. EST

GUATEMALA CITY — The chartered U.S. government flights land here every day or two, depositing Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers from the U.S. border. Many arrive with the same question: “Where are we?”

For the first time ever, the United States is shipping asylum seekers who arrive at its border to a “safe third country” to seek refuge there. The Trump administration hopes the program will serve as a model for others in the region.

But during its first weeks, asylum seekers and human rights advocates say, migrants have been put on planes without being told where they were headed, and left here without being given basic instruction about what to do next.

When the migrants land in Guatemala City, they receive little information about what it means to apply for asylum in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. Those who don’t immediately apply are told that they must leave the country in 72 hours. The form is labeled “Voluntary Return.”


“In the U.S., the agents told us our cases would be transferred, but they didn’t say where. Then they lined us up to get on the plane,” said a woman named Marta, 43, from Honduras. She sat in a migrant shelter here with her 17-year-old son, who nursed a gunshot wound in his left cheek — the work, both say, of a Honduran faction of the MS-13 gang.

“When we looked out the window, we were here,” she said. “We thought, ‘Where are we? What are we supposed to do now?’ ”

After the volcano, indigenous Guatemalans search for safer ground — in Guatemala, or the United States

Human rights organizations in Guatemala say they have recorded dozens of cases of asylum seekers who were misled by U.S. officials into boarding flights, and who were not informed of their asylum rights upon arrival. Of the 143 Hondurans and Salvadorans sent to Guatemala since the program began last month, only five have applied for asylum, according to the country’s migration agency.


“Safe third country” is one of the Trump administration’s most dramatic initiatives to curb migration — an effort to remake the U.S. asylum system. President Trump has called it “terrific for [Guatemala] and terrific for us.”

But an Asylum Cooperation Agreement is bringing migrants to a country that is unable to provide economic and physical security for its own citizens — many of whom are themselves trying to migrate. In fiscal 2019, Guatemala was the largest source of migrants detained at the U.S. border, at more than 264,000. The country has only a skeletal asylum program, with fewer than a dozen asylum officers.

Trump wants border-bound asylum seekers to find refuge in Guatemala instead. Guatemala isn’t ready.

As the deal was negotiated, it drew concerns from the United Nations and human rights organizations. But its implementation, advocates say, has been worse than they feared.

“It’s a total disaster,” said Thelma Shau, who has observed the arrival of asylum seekers at La Aurora International Airport in her role overseeing migration issues for Guatemala’s human rights ombudsman.

“They arrive here without being told that Guatemala is their destination,” she said. “They are asked, ‘Do you want refuge here or do you want to leave?’ And they have literally minutes to decide without knowing anything about what that means.”