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'Assembly Line Justice' - NAIJ/Judicial Council 2 President Judge Tabaddor Testifies Before House Subcommittee on the Crisis in the Immigration Courts

This week, Judge Ashley Tabaddor, President of the National Association of Immigration Judges/IFPTE Judicial Council 2 (NAIJ), was in D.C. to testify before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. The hearing focused on the core issue NAIj has highlighted for over two decades - the structural flaw of housing the Immigration Court in a law enforcement agency that is the Department of Justice - as well as recent policies that threaten to undermine due process and judicial independence.

Judy Perry Martinez, president of the American Bar Association, and Jeremey McKinney, second vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, testified along side Judge Tabaddor and shared NAIJ’s analysis of the crisis in the Immigration Court.

Judge Tabaddor described the accumulated affect of recent DOJ policies that advance the DOJ’s law enforcement priorities over the impartial role the Immigration Court is supposed to play as “assembly line justice.” In addition to the recent imposition of arbitrary case and deadline quotas that judges‘ performance is measured by, the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s Office of Policy and the Attorney General have transformed the Immigration Court "into a widget factory management model of speed over substance."

Ultimately, the conflict of interest and the ever-present threat of political interference in the Immigration Court will need to be resolved by creating an "Article 1” Immigration Court that is independent of the DOJ.

Watch Judge Ashley Tabaddor testify before the Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee here.

Read Judge Tabaddor's written comments here [PDF] and the AFL-CIO's submitted statement here [PDF].

Additional coverage of NAIJ and the DOJ's attacks on the Immigration Judges' union rights and judicial independence can be found here.

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