American Bar Association says US immigration courts facing an 'existential crisis'

American Bar Association says US immigration courts facing an 'existential crisis'
© iStock

The American Bar Association (ABA) is drawing attention to the “existential crisis” facing U.S. immigration courts, saying they are "irredeemably dysfunctional."

The immigration courts tasked with deciding whether or not immigrants are allowed to remain in the country have been bogged down by an overflow of cases recently, so much so that the bar association says they are “on the brink of collapse,” according to a new report released Wednesday and covered by CNN.

"The immigration courts are facing an existential crisis," the report reads. "The current system is irredeemably dysfunctional and on the brink of collapse."

ADVERTISEMENT

The report, titled "Reforming the Immigration System," notes an “unprecedented backlog” of unheard immigration cases, and also points to long wait times and recent policy changes under the Trump administration that has further hindered the court system

"The state of the U.S. immigration court system has worsened considerably since our 2010 report," the ABA writes in the report.

The report calls for the establishment of an independent court for immigration hearings that is separate from the Department of Justice .

Last month, news surfaced of several immigration judges leaving the Justice Department due to changes to the court system under the Trump administration, citing the backlog of more than 800,000 cases.

"Recent political and legal developments have exposed the fragility of our administrative systems," the report says. "Today, our immigration courts and other adjudicative systems face untenable backlogs, yet efforts to reduce those backlogs have been largely ineffective, or, at worst, counterproductive to the goals of an independent judiciary."