Joe Biden’s administration has hired 17 new immigration judges to help deal with the huge backlog of cases in immigration court. Some of them have no experience with the immigration court, either as prosecutors or defense attorneys. Almost none have represented migrants before.
This has enraged immigration activists who want the stink of Trump’s influence on the immigration system removed permanently.
“This is a list I would have expected out of Bill Barr or Jeff Sessions, but they’re not the attorney general anymore. Elections are supposed to have consequences,” said Paul Schmidt, an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School and former immigration judge.
Critics said the Biden administration has an obligation to fully vet the judges hired under their watch and rebalance a court system heavily shaped by the Trump team.
It’s also a surprising move for a president that has otherwise sought to quickly reverse a number of Trump immigration policies while calling for a more humane response to migration.
Schmidt added, “No one on that list is among the top 100 asylum authorities in the country, and that’s the kind of people they should be hiring — not prosecutorial re-treads.”
The radicals don’t want prosecutors because they’re biased against migrants as judges but defense attorneys are OK because they’re biased in favor of migrants? Shouldn’t the goal be in choosing judges who have no biases?
You have to wonder if they realize how idiotic they sound.
“The Trump administration was very astute when it came to the importance of who sits on the bench. That was as true of the Supreme Court as it was all of the federal circuits and the federal district courts, and to their immense credit they did not have a blind spot for the immigration court,” said César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, a professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.
“I think it’s important for the administration actually putting these individuals on the bench to decide if they have the information they need to make this decision or delay the process or to take ownership for making these appointments,” he added.
That was Biden’s dilemma: take who the Trump administration had already vetted and accepted or start the process from scratch. Biden chose expediency over ideology.
Biden’s budget calls for hiring 100 new immigration court judges — a figure many argue will hardly make a dent in a backlog of 1.3 million cases that will take an estimated four years to get through.
And his designated White House counsel wrote in a letter to lawmakers in December seeking suggestions for who to nominate to the bench, writing that they were “focused on nominating individuals whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on the federal bench, including … those who represent Americans in every walk of life.”
Biden will get to make his own mark on the immigration courts by naming plenty of his own judges in the next four years. But he won’t be able to fire any of them. This means Trump’s influence will continue to be felt on the immigration courts well into the future.