The Immigration Deportation Machine
In Las Americas v Trump, the US District Court of Oregon allows a complaint brought by immigration advocates against the Trump Administration to proceed. It alleges that the Trump Administration has turned the immigration court system into a deportation machine against asylum seekers and other noncitizens. As such, the lawsuit asks the court to end the unlawful practice of mass deportations without adequate consideration and fair treatment. Legitimate asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable people on Earth, deserving of protection.
The INA and US Constitution
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Take Care Clause of The U.S. Constitution requires the Administration to establish an impartial immigration court. In light of these mandates, the district court rejected the government’s arguments, holding that all claims could proceed, including the claim that the Attorney General has grossly mismanaged the immigration court system against asylum seekers.
Problems in Immigration Court
The lawsuit filed in December 2019 outlines pervasive dysfunction and bias within the immigration court system, including:
- The Enforcement Metrics Policy, which requires immigration judges to decide cases quickly, at the expense of a fair process, in exchange for favorable performance reviews.
- The “family unit” court docket, which stigmatizes the cases of recently arrived families and rushes their court dates, often giving families inadequate time to find an attorney and prepare for their hearings.
- Areas that have become known as “asylum-free zones,” where virtually no asylum claims have been granted for the past several years.”
- The nationwide backlog of pending immigration cases, which has now surpassed 1 million — meaning that thousands of asylum seekers must wait three or four years for a court date.
Study in Support
In June 2019, Innovation Law Lab and Southern Poverty Law Center released a study, documenting the failure of the immigration court system to fulfill the constitutional and statutory duties of fair and impartial adjudication: The Attorney General’s Judges: How the U.S. Immigration Courts Became a Deportation Tool.