Statement for the House Judiciary Committee on "Courts in Crisis: The State of Judicial Independence and Due Process in U.S. Immigration Courts"

Statement for the House Judiciary Committee on "Courts in Crisis: The State of Judicial Independence and Due Process in U.S. Immigration Courts"

January 29, 2020

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship for a January 29, 2020, hearing on "Courts in Crisis: The State of Judicial Independence and Due Process in U.S. Immigration Courts."

The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the systemic pattern of dysfunction and lack of meaningful oversight that plague the nation's immigration courts. In particular, the statement draws on an administrative complaint filed jointly by the Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association on behalf of immigration practitioners and their detained clients who appear for immigration proceedings at the El Paso Service Processing Center immigration court (“El Paso SPC Court”).

The court observations, declarations, and statistics contained within the complaint detail:

  • The use of capricious standing orders by Immigration Judges (“IJs”) that undermine due process and diminish access to counsel.
  • A culture of hostility and contempt by IJs towards immigrants.
  • The use of problematic court practices which undermine due process and a fair day in court for immigrants.

The statement asks that the Subcommittee direct the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) to address these endemic problems in the El Paso SPC Court and other courts through corrective action.

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