Stop Undermining Due Process for Immigrants

Target: Jeff Sessions, United States Attorney General

Goal: Do not undermine the judicial process by imposing case quotas on immigration judges.

The Department of Justice has announced that it will set quotas for immigration judges, as part of a push to get through the backlog of immigration cases and speed up deportations. This means that, among other requirements, judges will have to clear at least 700 cases a year in order to receive a “satisfactory” performance evaluation. “These unprecedented numeric quotas are so onerous that many judges will rush through cases to protect their own jobs,” as Jeremy McKinney, Secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, says. This is not only a detriment to judges, but a threat to judicial independence and the due process rights of immigrants. McKinney states, “Decisions in immigration court have life-or-death consequences and cannot be managed like an assembly line.”

Already, the immigration court system is broken when it comes to due process. There is a backlog nearing 700,000 cases, and yet often, judges make decisions after only a few minutes with an immigrant. Additionally, only one third of immigrants have a lawyer—they are not given representation if they cannot afford it themselves. This means that even children must represent themselves in court. In many cases, people are sent out of the U.S. to places where their lives and their families’ lives are at risk—deportation can be a death sentence. As Heidi Altman of the National Immigrant Justice Center states, “The administration has been very explicit that it perceives immigration judges as a mechanism to expedite and pursue deportations. And that’s a dangerous misunderstanding of the role of the immigration judge.” Sign below to demand that these quotas, which undermine America’s judicial system as well as human rights, be eliminated.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

It is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to prioritize human rights and ensure that the integrity of our democracy, and therefore of our judicial system, is upheld. The decision to impose quotas on immigration judges absolutely shirks both of those responsibilities. The lives of immigrants and their families are at stake, and the judges ruling on whether to essentially condemn these people to death should not have to make those decisions with a fear for their own jobs hanging over their heads.

As Heidi Altman rightly puts it, “The administration has been very explicit that it perceives immigration judges as a mechanism to expedite and pursue deportations. And that’s a dangerous misunderstanding of the role of the immigration judge.” A backlog of cases does not justify depriving people of due process and undermining judicial independence. I urge you not to impose these dangerous quotas on immigration judges.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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One Comment

  1. Gen Agustsson says:

    jeff sessions is racist.

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