Sunday, July 12, 2009

Broken Immigration System: Courts Backlogged, Immigration Judges Severely Understaffed

New Immigration Study: Broken Immigration System illustrates the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform this year!
Immigration Judges Found Under Strain
Surging caseloads and a chronic lack of resources to handle them are taking a toll on judges in the nation’s immigration courts, leaving them frustrated and demoralized, a new study has found. The study, published in a Georgetown University law journal, applied a psychological scale for testing professional stress and exhaustion to 96 immigration court judges who agreed to participate, just under half of all judges hearing immigration cases. The survey found that the strain on them was similar to that on prison wardens and hospital physicians, groups shown in comparable studies to experience exceptionally high stress.

Surprising the researchers, 59 immigration judges wrote comments on the survey questionnaire elaborating on why they felt discouraged. In the comments, which were reported anonymously, the judges spoke of an overwhelming volume of cases with insufficient time for careful review, a shortage of law clerks and language interpreters, and failing computers and equipment for recording hearings.

“We judges have to grovel like mangy street dogs” to win exemptions from unrealistic goals to complete cases, one judge commented. Another wrote of the “drip-drip-drip of Chinese water torture” from court administrators demanding more and faster decisions. A third judge cited “the persistent lack of sufficient time to be really prepared for the cases,” while still another said simply, “There is not enough time to think.”

Unlike federal courts generally, immigration courts are not part of the judicial branch but are run by an agency of the Justice Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review. In 2006, Alberto R. Gonzales, then attorney general, reported serious problems with overload and flawed rulings in the immigration courts. He outlined 22 measures the department should take to improve the courts, including hiring more immigration judges. The department recently hired four new judges and announced plans to hire a total of 28 this year. But a report this month by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group at Syracuse University that analyzes government data, found that the department had failed to meet its most important goals for training judges and giving them more assistance.

Many of the cases immigration judges hear are from people seeking asylum in the United States, claiming they would face life-threatening persecution if they returned home. But the troubling, complex facts of the asylum cases do not affect the judges as much as the pressure to dispatch them quickly, said Dr. Stuart L. Lustig, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study, published in The Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. One judge said, “This job is supposed to be about doing justice, but the conditions under which we work make it more and more challenging to ensure that justice is done.”

Bernard Wolfsdorf, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the immigration bar, said: “If you go into these courts and see the workload, you ask, Is this a real American court? It appears that this broken system is wearing down many of the good judges.”


Brittanicus said...


Don't believe for one minute, we are out of the quicksand yet? The illegal immigration enforcement battle has just began. Starting when Senate Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even President Obama begin their devious manipulating when the amendments enter closed door sessions. Our victories may have seemed successful and closed, but it now enter the dark domain of the conference committees. This is where our laws and brought and sold by the highest bidders, because the vicious cycle comes with open border, the free traders who have already been lobbying hard and have large war chests. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) authored the completion of 700-miles of fencing along the southwest border, not just pathetic vehicular barriers and a virtual barrier.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that would require all federal contractors to check the eligibility of new hires through E-Verify. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to table the amendment, but the motion was defeated. The amendment also calls for a permanent reauthorization of E-Verify, which is set to expire in September.Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-Iowa) E-Verify amendment to the Homeland Security spending bill allows employers to check the workplace eligibility of all employees--NOT JUST NEW HIRES. Sen. David Vitter's (R-La.) No-Match amendment prevents further delay in the implementation of a Bush Administration rule allowing the Social Security to send No-Match letters to employers.

All the anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigrant groups are already swallowing their own bile, but will be on the doorstep on the Congress in the following days. The American people must be vigilant against many organization, who not only want to squash E-Verify completely, but de-construct the border wall. Council of Foreign Relations wants no barriers between the North American countries, so it doesn't inhibit the free movement of cheap labor. The US Chamber of Commerce seems to believe American workers should be in competition with anybody who climbs the border wall? Who would ever think trade unions such as AFL-CIO, would in their leadership condone illegal labor in their membership. ACLU group like many others are secretly financed by taxpayer dollars, as is LA Raza and other radical organizations. If we didn't have the bloggers and a moderate media, the public would be left unaware of the weakening of ICE RAIDS, 287(g) police enforcement the REAL ID ACT.

Brittanicus said...

Almost every law on the books that includes 287(g) for local enforcement is always weakened or even snuffed out by political conspirators. Any activist knows whose behind annulling the 287(g) police questioning, arrest and detain of illegal aliens? Our lady at the Homeland Security office, Madam Janet Napolitano. She keeps opening her mouth and with a forked tongue, swears she adamantly supported E-Verify and other programs, while secretly she and her minions underfund working laws, just as she did when she was governor of Arizona? Sheriff Joe Ariapo showed most of these genuflecting elected officials the door, and he certainly has major backing of voters in Maricopa county. They have had enough of spreading crime and utter indifference to American law.

Their is a commitment by the Catholic church to undermine federal immigration laws, that is outrageous and they should lose the tax exempt status. But remember that although the coming AMNESTY is a disastrous crisis, the following waves of illegal potential squatters will be our Armageddon. The acceleration towards the genesis of Overpopulation. If we allow the politicians to enact another immigration reform program, it will become a calamity as was the 1986 AMNESTY.


Dee said...

I've seen your posts in various newspaper/blog comment sections from time to time. You might want to rethink your method of posting. Comments are most effective if kept to one paragraph.

Dee said...

The PRO Immigration Reformers are Patriots. We believe in America and we beleive in Humanity. Your advocacy of issues does not support jobs for Americans. Your advocacy is to eliminate the number of Latinos in America.

If you cared about American jobs and the economy you would study recent American history. Study what occurred in Postville, IA. ICE Raids shipped 600 Agriprocessors employees to Detention Centers. Agriprocessors attempted to hire new employees. They could not fill the jobs. They closed. Small businesses catering to the workers closed. Tax revenues were lost. Postville went out of business. Jobs Lost. Economy wrecked. That is the reality (time 5,000 towns) of what would happen if you deported 12 million people out of this country.

Dee said...

What we do need is Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We need to fix the Immigration Courts.

We need to support Janet Napolitano's change to the 287(g) program to support targetting felonious criminals vs racial profiling small latino towns. We need trained law enforcement, not masked volunteer goons (ala Arpaio).

ultima said...

Again beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What one person considers patriotic, another sees as traitorous. And what did El Duque's quote have to say, "Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel" of or something to that effect. Britannica is right when it comes to the likely outcome of the various amendments. Pelosi, Reid, et al will see that democracy is once again thwarted with back room deals to kill these very positive amendments which should be view as such by everyone who professes to favor secure borders.

Admittedly the political refugee aspect does require extensive investigation and research because so many would and do claim that status that should be turned away as fakes. Let's divide the immigration courts into two functions: refugees and other illegal aliens, visa overstays, etc. The latter categories could be easily expedited by providing a simple set of criteria that even an idiot could follow and then use JOPs for most of that work. Basically the criterion should be: if you came here illegally, a removal order will be issued and you will be detained until the removal takes place.

I agree the staffs for the former function of political refugees should be increased. Both are reforms I could support.

Once those changes have been made and the amendments Britannica referred to passed, we would then be in a position to consider what our actual foreign worker needs are as opposed to what unscrupulous employers and immigration advocates want. This is not nuclear physics.

ultima said...

"Bernard Wolfsdorf, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the immigration bar, said: “If you go into these courts and see the workload, you ask, Is this a real American court?"

Of course, he would say that. Look who he represents. The more cases he can get processed the more money he makes. No thought given to what is in the national interest.

Vicente Duque said...

The Obama administration's ongoing program to confront employers of illegal immigrants in a low-key way - And without Violence

Real Clear Politics
Immigration Reform is Quietly Here
By Froma Harrop
July 14, 2009

Immigration Reform is Quietly Here

Some excerpts :

One of America's toughest problems is being solved right before our unseeing eyes. As Mark Sanford strayed, Michael Jackson departed and Sarah Palin quit, the Obama administration was quietly putting law, order and the national interest back into our immigration system.

New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer says he will offer a comprehensive immigration bill by Labor Day. But don't look there. Look at the administration's ongoing program to confront employers of illegal immigrants in a low-key way.

So far this year, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has audited the hiring records of over 650 companies suspected of using illegal labor and moved against the offenders. Example: ICE told American Apparel in Los Angeles that 1,800 of its 5,600 factory workers appeared to be unauthorized. The company was fined $150,000 and told to fire employees who, on further inspection, were not supposed to be there.

The Bush administration tended toward cinematic raids on factory floors and big military shows at the border. Illegal immigrants were hauled off in handcuffs and slapped with criminal charges. Children were separated from parents.

Whatever. Enforcement is now being done through lawyerly conversations with executives. Not much to film here. Businesses found to be guilty of hiring illegal workers are fined and warned. If they keep doing it, the punishments grow harsher.

That's exactly the Obama approach. Anyone who doubts its effectiveness should note the discomfort among open-borders interests. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sued to stop the expansion of E-Verify.

And so by the time Schumer unveils his program, the larger public will already have reason to trust that the next amnesty would be the last. Schumer has gone further in that regard. He has proposed a tighter verification system using unique biometric markers, such as fingerprints or the iris of eyes. And he has come out and said that America lacks engineers, not low-skilled laborers.

Imagine that, an immigration overhaul that promises real enforcement, protects our most vulnerable workers and recognizes America's true labor needs. And we're getting there without the dramatics. Boy, are these guys smart.

Vicente Duque

TL Winslow said...

The age-old pesky U.S.-Mexico border problem has taxed the resources of both countries, led to long lists of injustices, and appears to be heading only for worse troubles in the future. Guess what? The border problem can never be solved. Why? Because the border IS the problem! It's time for a paradigm change.

Never fear, a satisfying, comprehensive solution is within reach: the Megamerge Dissolution Solution. Simply dissolve the border along with the failed Mexican government, and megamerge the two countries under U.S. law, with mass free 2-way migration eventually equalizing the development and opportunities permanently, with justice and without racism, and without threatening U.S. sovereignty or basic principles.

Take time to read about the new paradigm by Googling "Megamerge Dissolution Solution", or click

David Romm said...

This issue is not about immigration or who deserves and who does not deserve green card visas. The issue is should anything be done to make the jobs of judges less stressful? The answer is no. Judges, physicians, and prison wardens (the examples from the article) chose stressful jobs out of a feeling that they could ensure justice in these areas. Justice requires plenty of work between balancing the truth and what is reasonable. It seems to me that when the stress gets too much, people in these careers need to take a look at the scale and see which factor "truth" or "reason" needs to be re-examined. I admire people in these positions, but they should remember that their view of what is just vs unjust is going to change just as the truth changes.

Terry Hardy said...

The understaffing, in my view, is the single biggest problem the country has in terms of actually dealing with all of the immigrants (and potential immigrants) that are currently bogged down in the system. The process for attaining a green card visa should be a welcoming and streamlined one. Instead, those who wish to move to this country are faced with broken processes, a lack of help and wait times that routinely reach and exceed multiple years.

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