As of October 2018, immigration judges across the country will face new production quotas and other regulations on how much time they spend processing immigration cases and how many cases they complete every year.
The changes are part of an effort to reduce the backlog of immigration cases, under the direction of the Attorney General and the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Immigration activists say workload quotas encourage judges to rush through cases, unfairly jeopardizing the status of immigrants and their families.
With the increase in immigration arrests under the current administration, more than 650,000 cases are currently in the system. This backlog leaves many individuals uncertain about their immigration status longer than if their case had been processed more quickly. The Attorney General says performance standards will encourage the country’s nearly 250 immigration judges to tackle their cases with efficiency and fairness while speeding up the process.
Increased Scrutiny on Immigration Judges
The Justice Department estimates that most immigration judges complete an average of 678 cases every year. Under the new performance quotas, judges who complete fewer than 560 cases a year will receive “unsatisfactory” marks on regular performance evaluations. Judges who complete more than 560 but less than 700 will be marked as needing improvement. To receive a “satisfactory” rating, judges will need to complete at least 700 cases annually with only 15 percent or less overturned on appeal.
The new performance standards for immigration judges also cover how they are to rule on asylum cases. Judges are encouraged to make same-day rulings on if asylum-seekers have “credible” or “reasonable” fear of going back to their countries of origin. Judges who do not make same-day decisions on less than 80 percent of asylum cases will receive “unsatisfactory” performance grades.
The National Immigration Judges Association opposes these performance quotas and say they contradict judicial independence. While the group agrees with regulating the quality of immigration cases, they are against regulating quantity. Opponents to the changes say not only do the new standards require more documentation, further slowing down the system, they say people may be more likely to appeal their cases – on the grounds they were made in haste. These appeals will only increase the backlog, continuing the cycle.
Recent anti-immigrations policies and regulations have made it more challenging for those seeking citizenship or facing other immigration issues. As the new case quotas and standards take effect this fall, those on both sides of the issue will be watching to see how the changes impact the plight of immigrants in this country.
Philadelphia citizenship and immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are always on top of new and developing changes to immigration laws. Our team of highly-experienced, multilingual attorneys has been successfully resolving all types of immigrations matters for more than 15 years including those related to asylum, deportation, naturalization, work visas, and appeals.
Philadelphia Citizenship and Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Protect Clients Vulnerable to Immigration Case Quotas
To schedule an appointment with a compassionate and skilled Philadelphia immigration lawyer, call Surin & Griffin, P.C. today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, where we proudly serve clients in and around the greater metro area including Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, and Prospect Park.