Attorney General Jeff Sessions has just announced a new policy that could adversely affect hundreds of thousands of aliens living in the United States.
According to the PUE Research Center, it is estimated that Florida has a population of over 850,000 unauthorized immigrants and about 9% have children born in the United States.
This new shift in policy by the Trump Administration will have its greatest impact on those scheduled to appear for an immigration judge in the future.
Immigration Judges have widely used administrative closure to close cases and clear the docket, without a final decision. This method has been used for years and it was intended to move people through the immigration system, but it has also left thousands of immigrants in a state of legal “purgatory”.
Critics of the immigration process stated that the system has become a ‘back door amnesty”. The Center for Immigration Studies has concluded that administratively closing a case is a practical matter “of sweeping the cases under the rug”. Since the immigration cases were not terminated, it could raise its ugly head in the future for aliens that already went before a judge and were released, without a final determination. It also creates a false sense of security for the alien.
The administrative closures were viewed by immigration practitioners and judges as a “lifeline” to gain legal status in the United States. For example: one could file for an adjustment of status (marriage to a United States citizen) and receive a Green Card, also immediate relatives like minor children, parents, and siblings could file for permanent resident status. In addition, an alien had an opportunity to apply for other visas that would give him/her legal status in the United States.
It is estimated that there are more then 350,000 cases that have been administratively closed and there are thousands of cases pending.
Immigration attorneys and government officials are extremely concerned about the possibility of reopening cases that were previously closed that would substantially increase a backlog of an already overburdened court system. With only 350 administrative judges in the entire immigration court system, it would create a catastrophic and insurmountable backlog and create hardships, burdens and unwarranted delays.
The net result of Jeff Sessions’ directive is that immigration judges should quickly resolve meritless cases and motions. This cavalier approach to a critical administration decision is unrealistic, punitive, draconian, and contrary to our system of jurisprudence and one’s right to due process.
It is evident by current events that the current Administration and Congress doesn’t have a clue as to the need for a “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”. When will Jeff Sessions take his head out of the sand and admit that the system is broken and in immediate need of repair? A band-aid approach is not a solution, nor will it provide immigrants with a real viable opportunity to become part of the American Dream.
We are a nation of immigrants and therefore we have earned the right and privilege to have our cases and motions heard by an impartial and qualified judge. Its time to end the “witch hunt” and make America a nation, “with justice for all.”
For additional information regarding immigration cases that were administratively closed and the impact on future cases please call our office at (386)-586-6985.