DOJ proposes new immigration court rules: report

The Department of Justice has proposed new rules that will allow some immigration appellate judges to make their rulings binding for the whole immigration system, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday. 

The proposed change would reportedly give the 21-judge appeals court system more authority to set precedents, with fewer judges participating in those decisions. This would allow changes to immigration law to be made more rapidly.  

According to the Chronicle, the appellate board can only make a precedent binding if most permanent judges agree. The new rule would allow for binding precedents to be set if two judges on a panel of three agree to it. It would also allow the attorney general to determine whether panel decisions can become precedent. 

"This rule permits three-Board-member review of a small class of particularly complex cases," a description of the proposal said. 

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"This rule amends the regulations relating to precedent decisions of the Board, by authorizing publication of decisions either by a majority of Board Members on a panel or by a majority of permanent Board Members," it continued. 

The administration is reportedly touting the proposed change, which is pending White House approval, as a fix to the current backlog facing the system. Opponents fear, however, that the move will allow the administration to alter the courts to fit their political objectives.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. 

The regulation was reportedly first proposed during George W. Bush's administration. 

The Trump administration, and the president himself, have called for changes to the immigration system in recent weeks. Trump floated getting rid of the asylum system and immigration judges.  

“They have to get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work, and frankly, we should get rid of judges,” he said. “You can’t have a court case every time somebody steps foot on our ground.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who was then serving as Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said that the immigration system had reached a "breaking point" last month.