The Department of Justice announced Friday new changes to the Executive Office of Immigration Review that will likely address our broken immigration system and the massive court backlogs, which Trump Administration officials say is the product of loopholes in the law that lead to bogus claims and strain on the nations courts.
The EOIR, which was established to adjudicate “immigration cases by fairly, expeditiously, and uniformly interpreting and administering the Nation’s immigration laws,” will be restructured in 60 days to address the crisis. The pressure of nearly 1,000,000 pending cases in immigration courts as of Fiscal Year 2019 is one of the reasons for the change.
This new rule gives more power to the agency’s leadership, effectively the agency would have the power to decide on the cases, some which have been in the backlogged system for years.
Further, requests to review defendant’s representation will be handled by the EOIR’s Director, which is a latitude in the law the director did not formerly have. According to the DOJ, the interim rule would limit the power of EOIR’s general counsel to influence immigration judges’ decisions, according to a department official who spoke to reporters.
The new changes include increased regulatory oversight by the Office of Policy. The rules dictate that the “EOIR’s General Counsel does not have authority to influence the adjudication of cases.”
In a similar tone, this week the Trump Administration announced the cancelation of the long-upheld Flores Settlement agreement citing loopholes that allowed illegal migrants to be released into the U.S. with a court date, however the majority never actually appear in court.
According to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, the new plan ensures “fair and expeditious immigration proceedings, and eliminates a key incentive that encourages traffickers to exploit children.”