A.G. Holder Exiting Amid ‘Unfinished’ Work With Immigration Courts

While praising his actions to bring the first Justice Department action against states over immigration laws, a leading immigration activist says U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – or his replacement – has work to do on the nation’s immigration courts. The civil immigration system is operated by Holder’s Justice Department, and the judges are Justice Department employees.
The ongoing immigration court crisis, with its 400,000-case backlog and fast-tracking of suddenly high-profile Central American children seeking entry to the United States, is not gaining widespread coverage as news organizations ponder the Holder legacy. But Marielena Hincapié, director of the National Immigration Law Center, noted the issue after first praising the A.G. for “helping to establish immigration as an important area of civil rights.”
She told The Washington Post that “… we really saw an attorney general and a department of justice that was willing to lead on these issues and to take risky moves.” But, the Post added, “… yet she added that Holder (or his successor) still has some important unfinished business with regard to the country’s immigration courts, which are overseen by the Justice Department and are overwhelmed with cases.”

This ‘Third Branch’ Funding Story Sounds Familiar

Lawmakers who pretty much ignore budget reality. A chief executive with budget priorities that do not include some other branch of government. Massive cuts to the services that actually help citizens, but little pain for judges and prosecutors who are more or less locked into their jobs. If that sounds like California, and it does, then it’s worth noting that it also sounds like the federal government.
There’s a great piece by Andrew Cohen on the San Francisco “beyondchron” website that takes U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to task over recent lip service to the issue. And Cohen cuts to the chase with this: “… a Congress that tripped all over itself earlier this year to ensure that there would be no flight delays because of the sequester has been remarkably content to run our judiciary into the ground– and to then hide from the blame that comes with refusing to adequately fund the third branch of government. “
And how much does this sound like the conversation in California? The Cohen piece talks about a meeting between judges and Vice President Biden: “When cases lag, the Judiciary is seen as inefficient, or worse, unsympathetic to litigants ranging from pro-se litigants (who represent themselves) to individuals and companies seeking bankruptcy relief or the resolution of civil disputes to the government and defendants in criminal cases.” Cohen even calls for consideration of a slow-down strike, arguing “… if lawmakers are going to treat the judiciary like it’s a third-world operation perhaps its time to show those lawmakers what a third-world operation actually looks like.”
Except, one might argue, California is about to do that without the benefit of a strike. Read the Cohen piece here.