Our Immigration Law “Wish List” For the New Congress
There is no question that immigration legal issues are becoming more and more complex and political—now more than ever. As attorneys who regularly help individuals and families address their immigration legal needs, there are a number of ways that the new Congress could change the laws to improve our immigration system—a kind of “wish list” that we discuss in greater detail below:
Ensure Judicial Independence for Immigration Courts
Ensuring judicial independence is one of the most important tasks that Congress could take on right now. Specifically, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees both the Board of Immigration and the Immigration Courts, should, at a minimum be independent under Article 1. In 2018 alone, the Department of Justice has arguably interfered with this judicial independence by adjusting the law when it comes to access to asylum for victims of domestic violence, bond hearings, and duress exceptions, as well as implementing case completion quotas, resulting in pressure on judges to rush through cases and jeopardizing respondents’ due process rights.
Do Not Prosecute Asylum Seekers; Protect Domestic Violence Victims
Congress and the country have a long way to go when it comes to the issue of prosecuting asylum seekers entering the U.S. and fleeing persecution for their lives. According to statistics, between 2017 and 2018, the U.S. drastically increased “illegal entry” prosecutions for asylum seekers, prosecuting more than 90,000 cases for “illegal entry” and “reentry.” Not only is this a violation of domestic asylum laws, but international human rights laws as well. A number of previous administrations have not prosecuted any asylum seekers for undocumented entry. Choosing not to prosecute asylum seekers includes providing protection domestic violence victims who face being deported back into the hands of their abusers to be beaten, raped, and possibly killed, at the same time.
Stop Separating Families
This last year, the issue of family separation has quite understandably received widespread attention in the news. There is no question that Congress should not only pass legislation protecting parents and sponsors of unaccompanied children, but also stop charging parents with smuggling in their children. Not only should defendants no longer be prosecuted under this law, but Congress has the ability to pass a new law clarifying that bringing your minor child with you does not constitute “smuggling.”
Cease Unjustified Detention
When it comes to unjustified detention, the country has a long ways to go. First, detention should only be used when absolutely necessary. In no way should detention bed quotas—which act as incentives to imprison immigrants, regardless of whether they are a danger to society or not—be used.
Congress should also add transparency requirements to ICE and ensure that some notice is provided to detainees and their counsel or record. Arriving aliens should also be provided with the right to a bond hearing so that there is some judicial oversight of ICE’s decisions and to ensure that everyone is treated equally in the eyes of the law.
Contact Our North Carolina Immigration Attorneys
It is more difficult than ever for individuals and families desperate to establish themselves here in the U.S. to come and/or remain here. If this is affecting you or a loved one, contact our experienced North Carolina immigration lawyers at Dysart Willis today to find out how we can help address your immigration needs.