The American Bar Association (ABA) warned that U.S. immigration courts are facing an “existential crisis” and “on the brink of collapse” due to a number of policy changes implemented by the Trump administration, according to a new report.
“The immigration courts are facing an existential crisis,” the report reads. “The current system is irredeemably dysfunctional and on the brink of collapse.”
The report, titled “Reforming the Immigration System,” notes an “unprecedented backlog” of unheard immigration cases and also highlights the long wait times and recent policy changes under the Trump administration that have further overwhelmed 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, several immigration judges left the Justice Department due to changes to the court system under the Trump administration. They cited 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.”