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Thread: Article: Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice. By Imm

  1. #1

    Article: Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice. By Imm

    Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice


    If you are having difficulty viewing this document please click here.

    This post originally appeared on Immigration Policy Center. Reprinted with permission.

    About The Author

    The Immigration Policy Center

    The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC, formed in 2003 is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of

  2. #2
    Nolan Rappaport
    I wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for more than 20 years. I reviewed thousands of deportation hearings, reading the transcripts of every hearing I reviewed. I feel qualified to make the following observations.

    I agree with the Immigration Policy Center's article that the unprecedented volume of cases can't be handled by the present immigration court in a reasonable amount of time, but I don't think it is realistic to try to solve that problem by increasing the number of judges. And it isn't just a matter of needing more funding. The main difficulty is that qualified attorneys are needed to fill the positions, and I don't think enough of them are available to bring the current backlog under control. Qualified lawyers would also be needed to represent the government at the hearings and in appeals to the Board, not to mention the other court personnel that would be required to run the additional courts.

    The article mentions the rapid increase in the border patrol. That provides an illustration of what can happen when the government rushes to meet hiring goals and cannot find enough qualified people, doesn't have the time or the resources to do proper background investigations, and can't train the new recruits properly. I urge you to read the Border Patrol Council's report on the difficulties that were involved in that situation, which is available at If you read that report, you will stop wondering why there is so much unwarranted violence today in the border patrol, among other problems.

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