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Letter to the Editor: Broken immigration court system must be fixed

Immigration cases are often life-or-death matters. Having practiced deportation defense for almost 20 years, I know first-hand that our immigration court system is deeply flawed. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently described immigration attorneys like "water seeping" around the law. Under his leadership, it is apparent that our broken immigration court system must be fixed immediately.

Because our immigration courts and judges are not a part of the judiciary branch but are controlled by the Department of Justice and, in turn, the Attorney General, Mr. Sessions has chosen to exercise his expansive power in ways we have not seen before. He has hand-picked cases from the courts to decide himself, he has emphasized quantity over quality at every turn and, as of October 1, he has even required judges to finish cases under quotas or face discipline rather than take the necessary diligence to decide the fates of those ensnared in the system. This kind of assembly-line justice should be unacceptable in America.

Such policies are undoubtedly harming American families. Everyone, even undocumented immigrants who flee persecution, crime and poverty, deserves a fair day in court. Because immigration violations are not generally criminal in nature, there is no entitlement to attorney representation. While that may be good for taxpayers, it does not bode well for the due process rights of any of us. For these reasons, I pray that Senators Nelson and Rubio, as well as Congressmen Dunn and Lawson, will support the creation of an independent immigration court system.

Neil St. John Rambana

(850) 224-4529

Tallahassee, Florida

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