Immigration judges may shelve certain deportation cases again

The Trump administration barred judges from suspending certain deportation cases

It is no secret that former President Donald Trump, who led the White House from January 2017 to January 2021, always had the firm intention to reduce immigration levels in the US in general, that is, both illegal and legal. To achieve this goal, the Trump administration tried to intervene in most, if not all, branches of the local immigration system.

Thus, former President Trump and his team made hundreds of changes to all sorts of immigration processes, which undoubtedly also included immigration courts and the way certain cases are handled among immigration judges across the US.

To give a specific example, in 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented a policy that banned immigration judges from shelving, postponing, or deferring certain deportation cases. This rule stated that immigration judges were to process deportation cases even if immigrants involved had an ongoing Green Card or visa application and were awaiting a response to their requests.

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Immigration judges may shelve certain deportation cases again

Since Sessions implemented the policy barring the suspension of certain deportation cases, three appeal courts have already rejected this rule, stating that immigration judges should always have the right and power to decide how to handle deportation cases. However, this policy has never been officially overruled, until now.

On Thursday, July 15, 2021, current US Attorney General Merrick Garland removed the 2018 Sessions rule and stated that immigration judges have the authority to shelve certain deportation cases again if applicants are awaiting a response to their Green Card or visa requests.

Garland stated that this decision will allow the country to reduce the nationwide immigration case backlog and improve the immigration system in general, which is extremely saturated due to restrictive policies implemented by the Trump administration and the sudden arrival of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Several immigration judges have already commented on Garland’s decision and state that it is a very positive step to be able to streamline immigration processes and address cases that are ready to go to immigration court, instead of delaying applications that are not necessarily urgent as there is another legitimate request in between.

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