The deportation of illegal immigrants was a major campaign promise of President Trump and one he’s been working hard to deliver.
According to The Washington Examiner, the Executive Office for Immigration Review has revealed a surprising shift of “culture” under President Trump. Immigration attorneys that were once able to delay court decisions indefinitely on deportations under former-President Obama are now being forced to push for final verdicts, leading to more deportations.
An official for the EOIR explains that under President Obama’s administration, attorneys could delay a deportation by seeking an administrative closure, a type of pause in the case before a decision could be reached.
A Department of Justice official explained these delays would then justify the court’s decisions to avoid reaching a final decision, which would indefinitely put off the final verdict. “Rather than getting [a decision on removal proceedings]…Instead, it created this culture of seeking a continuance to try to build up a request for prosecutorial discretion for administrative closure, and so it had a ripple effect,” the official said.
Mathew Kolken, an immigration lawyer, explains the workaround used by many attorneys during the Obama era: “They utilized a mechanism called administrative closure to remove the immediate threat of deportation by putting an immigrant into a state of legal limbo. Although still subject to the immigration court’s jurisdiction, an immigrant facing deportation would no longer have to be concerned about having their case scheduled for a hearing. In sum, their case was put on the back burner of the stove, with the burner turned off.”
A report by the Center for Immigration Studies released earlier this year revealed that 200,000 deportation cases were negated using such tactics under President Obama.
With President Trump, however, the EOIR has revealed that final decisions have increased 16 percent when compared to the same time last year. The total amount of deportation orders has increased by 29 percent.
Part of this is likely due to a memo sent out by Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding that specific exploit used during President Obama’s administration. The memo reminded immigration judges of proper usage of administrative closures, and stated: “[T]he delays caused by granting multiple and lengthy continuances, when multiplied across the entire immigration court, exacerbate already crowded immigration dockets.”
Mr. Kolken says those cases, which were placed in continual limbo, are now being brought to the forefront and decisions are finally being made. “President Trump’s administration is now actively moving those cases back to the front burner of the stove and turning the heat back on so those deportation hearings may be scheduled for those who received a temporary reprieve.”
This change in the culture of immigration proceedings shows how President Trump’s efforts in the White House are having an effect on the bureaucracies of “the swamp” that were left over from President Obama. Rather than have deportation cases remain unresolved indefinitely, the legal system is shaking off the cobwebs and operating as it should.
Though President Trump may be meeting stiff resistance from Democrats and sanctuary cities in implementing stronger deportation measures, his influence is having an effect on the overall system and it’s resulting in progress.