I am writing on behalf of the AFL-CIO about the House Appropriations Committee’s mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriation bill. We urge you to support an amendment that we understand Representative Jose E. Serrano will offer during the markup to protect the judicial independence of Immigration Judges (IJ’s) and the due process rights of those who appear before them.
Representative Serrano’s amendment will prohibit the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) planned imposition of production quotas and case completion deadlines in the performance evaluations of Immigration Judges. It will allow Immigration Judges to conduct fair and impartial hearings on the circumstances and facts of each case before them The AFL-CIO believes that constructive solutions to addressing the Immigration Court’s case backlog require judicial expertise, resources, and a focus on due process. The imposition of production quotas and case completion deadlines will threaten the political independence of the immigration courts and the professional integrity of IJ’s without actually producing the desired results. Attempts to reduce the case backlog through the implementation of quotas will backfire and lead only to further litigation and appeals, as individuals will credibly assert that their cases did not receive fair consideration from the Court.
Immigration Judges must use their expertise to evaluate the circumstances of each case. The Serrano amendment will ensure that individual rights and judicial integrity are not sacrificed for the sake of expediency. The AFL-CIO urges you to support the Serrano amendment.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department