"The news from the courts regarding immigration and undocumented residents is unwelcome and unwelcoming. Our Gospel message of love and inclusion, that God calls us to “fear not” living as we share our privileges and blessings, is needed more than ever!" - Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Bill Lyons
Last year, the 9th circuit court of appeals ruled that immigrants in detention have a right to a bond hearing every six months. SCOTUS reversed this decision. This means that thousands of more immigrants will be languishing in detention without the chance to get out on bond (even if they are waiting to be granted asylum). This serves as a huge cash cow to the private prison industry that maintains over sixty percent of ICE immigration detention beds.
DOJ Imposes a Quota for Immigration Judges
On April 2, the DOJ announced the implementation of a quota system for immigration judges. From the Washington Post: “The judges will be expected to clear at least 700 cases a year to receive a “satisfactory” performance rating, a standard that their union called an “unprecedented” step that risks undermining judicial independence and opens the courts to potential challenges. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised to stiffen immigration enforcement partly by moving more aggressively to clear a backlog of more than 600,000 cases pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the federal court system that adjudicates immigration cases.”
Finally, the DOJ announced this week that they are ending the Legal Orientation Program for thousands of people detained in immigration detention.
“We are deeply dismayed by the DOJ's decision to halt funding for the Legal Orientation Program. This means that the Florence Project will lose over $500,000 of funding and organizations across the country will lose over $8 million. As the only legal orientation provider in Arizona, this decision threatens our important work with thousands of detained immigrants in Florence and Eloy. No human being should be locked up in an immigration detention center, and nobody should have to face a skilled government lawyer alone. Although this is a significant setback, our work presses on. We will do everything we can to continue providing access to justice to thousands of detained immigrants in Arizona.”