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The Trump Administration’s Plan to Reduce the Immigration Court Backlog Will Only Add to It

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Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, on March 13th, 2018.

The Department of Justice is preparing to enact sweeping changes in the immigration court system that would allow appeals judges to uphold deportations without justification. The changes, likely to be approved by the White House in the coming days, are ostensibly aimed at easing the case backlog burden on overwrought courts, but experts say similar measures to clear through cases quicker in the recent past did exactly the opposite.

A proposed rule change under review by the White House would allow judges on the Board of Immigration Appeals to issue so-called Affirmances Without Opinion, allowing deportation rulings to stand without requiring the appellate judge to offer an explanation that would amount to proof of their full consideration of the case. Appeals processes typically last several months, and the courts are said to take several weeks issuing written opinions. The change, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, would also allow the appellate judges to make rulings binding on the rest of the immigration court system.

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