Immigration Judges Fall to Merrick Garland’s Long Knives
Swamped by a growing backlog of 1.6 million cases, the Biden administration is terminating immigration court judges. The purge appears to be political, with one official citing a “toxic and hostile environment” under Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Among the departures is Chief Immigration Judge Tracy Short. Short called it quits after he was cut out of decisions, as the White House sets more relaxed policies toward illegal aliens and pursues administrative avenues to dismiss cases. Hundreds of thousands of migrants continue to be released into the U.S. with no court dates at all.
Notably, the judicial ousters come in a year when immigration courts are allowing 77 percent of asylum claimants to remain in the country – an almost complete reversal from 2019, when 71 percent of cases resulted in removal. Over the past decade, removal percentages have never fallen below 43 percent.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which oversees the nation’s 600 immigration judges, is supposed to operate as an independent judicial branch. But Garland’s political commissars have ousted a half-dozen judges hired during the Trump administration.
In a letter to Garland, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the actions “reprehensible and potentially illegal.” The lawmakers asserted that the removals violated the Civil Service Reform Act.
One terminated judge alleged that the firings were politically motivated. According to this judge, immigration advocacy groups were determined to have him removed, despite his receiving universally positive feedback for his work.
EOIR’s termination letter to the judge did not state any specific reason for dismissal, which prompted the National Association of Immigration Judges to blast Garland & Co. for a “complete lack of transparency.”
One thing is fully transparent, however: This administration will sacrifice judges who insist on applying the rule of law. With its reckless policies creating ever-larger logjams of migrants, those jurists – and the law – have been deemed expendable.