Durbin Grills Justice Department On Politicization Of Immigration Courts

Durbin: Department attempting to hijack courts for Trump mass deportation agenda

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), ranking member of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, today grilled a Justice Department official at a hearing entitled, “Strengthening and Reforming America's Immigration Court System,” about the Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions politicizing America’s immigration court system at the expense of due process for immigrants.

The Justice Department last week halted the Legal Orientation Program (LOP). Created by the Bush Administration in 2003, LOP informs more than 50,000 detained non-citizens every year about their legal rights and responsibilities and improves the efficiency of immigration courts. The Trump Administration is also imposing unprecedented case quotas that threaten the independence of immigration judges and further undermine due process for immigrants.

Now our immigration courts face perhaps their greatest challenge. A President and an Attorney General who are calling into question our Founders’ promise that all persons in our country are entitled to due process under the law,” said Durbin. “The program also saves our government millions of dollars a year by increasing the efficiency of immigration proceedings. Don’t take my word for it, listen to a November 2017 memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which says, quote ‘Experience has shown that LOP attendees are positioned to make better informed decisions, are more likely to obtain legal representation, and complete their cases faster than detainees who have not’ participated in the program.”  

Video of Durbin’s remarks in Committee are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks in Committee are available here.