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File showing Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama during his confirmation hearing to be attorney general before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Molly Riley/Getty Images.
File showing Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama during his confirmation hearing to be attorney general before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Molly Riley/Getty Images.

As promised, Jeff Sessions delivers more immigration judges

With the intention of accelerating stalled immigration trials and deportation proceedings, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ensured that, by the end of the…

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Counting the strategies, both in force and failed, that the Trump administration has launched against immigration is becoming increasingly complicated.

While minor courts have hampered the separation of families at the border, the government is seeking to revoke the Flores Agreement to keep underage immigrants in custody for longer periods of time. Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ensured that his promise to radically increase the number of immigration judges is still going strong.

During a speech on Monday, Sessions welcomed a new cohort of this type of judges, assuring that "we currently have the largest number of immigration judges in history," Politico reported.

"This class puts us at the top, but we are not going to stop there," Sessions added in front of 44 new judges in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

Similarly, the director of the EOIR, James McHenry promised that "we will keep hiring (judges) until we run out of space or money.”

In April, the attorney general announced new directives to "expedite the treatment of cases" of immigrants, trying to accelerate deportation processes and decongest the immense number of cases that are frozen in the courts.

The measures included a system of "incentives" or "positive evaluations" of their performance, urging that each judge must resolve "at least 700 cases a year," as the Washington Post reported at the time.

Sessions added the threat that "if the judges are not performing, they could be fired or potentially moved around the country, a tactic that could push judges out of the system," CNN explained.

On Monday, Sessions thanked the Office of Management and Budget, as well as the House and Senate Appropriations Committee for "providing the necessary funds for new hires."

In the same way, he took the opportunity to criticize immigration attorneys, assuring that "their duty, however, is not to uphold the integrity of the act. That’s our duty," reported CNN.

"Just as we defend immigrant legal rights, we reject unjustified and sometimes fake claims," he said. "The law is never serviced when deceit is rewarded so that the fundamental principles of the law are defeated."

Thus, the attorney general has demonstrated the extent of his power by approving each judge who is hired and by instructing him or her exactly how to interpret the law and decide on immigration cases. Proof of this was his decision last year to eliminate the approval of the asylum status to immigrants fleeing domestic or gang violence.

It is expected, then, that the government will accelerate the processes of solving cases and deportation as of January 2019.

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