Due process? We don’t need no stinking due processs!

“A plan to turn back all migrants seeking asylum would have its most immediate effect on the US-Mexico border. It has run into opposition from several government agencies, in part because of concerns that it would violate US and international law, including treaties on how to deal with refugees and victims of torture.

“Officials are working on a plan to deny entry to all asylum seekers, according to multiple sources. That may include a plan to return all illegal border crossers without due process.”

The administration is pushing to use the coronavirus pandemic to accomplish some of the tough immigration restrictions that hardliners have struggled to put into practice since President Donald Trump took office, including blocking entry to asylum seekers, according to US officials briefed on the plans.

Trump’s immigration success

It’s notorious that bureaucracies are hard to change from the top down.

He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‛Do this! Do that!’  *And nothing will
happen.*  Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it
very frustrating.  — Harry S Truman

But Donald Trump has pretty much done that. He’s really in practice
cutting back immigration to just those people that the US allows in, and
cutting back which people the US allows in … all without getting
Congress to change the laws.

One of the more amazing bits is the shutting of the asylum pipeline that
people from Central America were using. For a while there, about
100,000 people a month were arriving from Central America and claiming
asylum, and due to the details of US immigration law, were “caught and
released” into the US. That was a significant fraction of the workers
coming into the US labor market. Needless to say, it caused apoplexy in
Trump supporters.

I’ll note here that I don’t know the details of asylum law, but given
the general violence in Central America, I wouldn’t be surprised if all
of these people qualified for asylum. What I would be surprised is if
this is different now than from any of the last 100 years.

But despite what one would think possible, Trump has managed to shut
this pathway off. I’d be interested in reading a clear discussion of
exactly how this was managed.

Appeals court spanks BIA, Justice Dept.

A wonderful opinion. Here is Bloomberg’s piece and here is the opinion itself.

Some nice quotes: “What happened next beggars belief. The Board of Immigration Appeals wrote, on the basis of a footnote in a letter the Attorney General issued after our opinion, that our decision is incorrect. …

“We have never before encountered defiance of a remand order,and we hope never to see it again. Members of the Board must count themselves lucky that Baez-Sanchez has not asked us to hold them in contempt, with all the consequences that possibility entails.

“The Board seemed to think that we had issued anadvisory opinion, and that faced with a conflict between our views and those of the Attorney General it should follow the latter. Yet it should not be necessary to remind the Board, all of whose members are lawyers, that the ‘judicial Power’ under Article III of the Constitution is one to make conclusive decisions, not subject to disapproval or revision by another branch of government.”

Alas, it’s only getting worse

I can only speak about the Boston immigration court. They’ve hired several new judges but all of them were previously prosecutors for DHS and therefore have to recuse themselves from any case they handled in any way before coming to the bench (and that turns out to be alot since multiple prosecutors wind up working on any given case). In addition, several judges have been out sick multiple times, which results in cases getting rescheduled.

Allow me to cite just one example. I have a Haitian client whose removal case was closed when she was granted Temporary Protected Status (allowing her to stay) She subsequently married a US citizen and is eligible for a green card. I filed a motion to reopen the case in December 2017 and it was granted in the spring of 2018. That judge than retired and the case was assigned to another judge (previously a DHS prosecutor) and I had an individual hearing scheduled for September 2019. At that hearing, the government attorney was unable to move forward because he had not yet received the file from the archives! The judge asked the government attorney if the database showed that he (the judge) had previously worked on the case and the answer was no. The case was then continued until November 2019. At that hearing, the judge revealed that he had looked into it and found that he had indeed worked on the case as a prosecutor and therefore had to recuse himself (apparently he hadn’t looked into it before the previous hearing). The case was assigned to another judge. That judge has missed multiple days (two this week) resulting in the rescheduling of her current cases. I have heard nothing about when my client’s application for a green cared will be heard but I doubt it will be this year.

The administration’s solution to the problem is impose minimum quotas on how many cases I judge is supposed to decide per year. It that results in curtailing the aliens’ due process rights, so be it (a feature, not a bug). The solution proposed by the immigration bar is (aside from hiring more judges) to move the immigration courts out of the executive branch (they’re currently part of the Justice Department) and give them independence by attaching them to the federal courts (similar to the bankruptcy courts). I doubt that will ever happen though. Sigh.

LUMPKIN, Ga. (AP) ? 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...

Nothing to see here–move along

“The White House this year has turned the Department of Homeland Security — which oversees securing the country’s borders, disaster relief efforts and addressing domestic terrorism and cybersecurity threats — into a revolving door of officials, creating a void of permanent leadership.”

The firing of John Mitnick is the latest in a year of turnover at the Department of Homeland Security.