Trump’s Immigration Court Reforms Suffers Setback in Lawsuit
FAIR Take | April 2021
The Trump administration issued a series of reforms to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) – the United States’ immigration court system – that made the removal process more efficient by speeding up the time it takes to deport an illegal alien. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon just ruled in favor of a group of non-profits suing EOIR in an attempt to end the rule.
The case, Catholic Legal Immigration Network v. EOIR, is a blow to the Trump administration’s attempts to reform the immigration courts. The Trump administration’s rule — Appellate Procedures and Decisional Finality in Immigration Proceedings; Administrative Closure – made it easier to quickly remove illegal aliens and slowly but surely reduce the case backlog plaguing EOIR. EOIR’s case backlog exceeds 1.3 million cases and grows by the day as more and more illegal aliens present themselves at the border seeking asylum protection. The Trump administration rule went into effect on January 15, 2021, just five days before the inauguration of Joe Biden.
The petitioners argued that the rule violated the Administrative Procedures Act, a successful legal strategy that hindered many of the Trump administration’s efforts to change immigration policy at the executive level. In his ruling, Judge Leon also cited the fact that President Biden chose to pause and review all federal rulemaking related to immigration that occurred under President Trump.
This injunction by the D.C. District Court follows a March 10 nationwide injunction issued in a separate but related case by Judge Susan Illston in Central Legal de la Raza v. EOIR in the California Northern District Court.
This represents another legal defeat for the Trump administration’s immigration policies issued at the executive level, and further details the difficulty that his administration faced at the judicial level. A second injunction against EOIR’s proposed regulations could represent the death blow for these nuanced but important reforms to our immigration court system.