Justice Dept. to set quotas for judges to clear immigration cases

In a move to speed up deportations, the Justice Department has decided that it will link clearing cases to the performance reviews of federal immigration judges.

The minimum quotas, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, will require judges to clear 700 cases a year and to see that fewer of their rulings are sent back by a higher court.

According to the Journal’s report, the Justice Department says that on average over the past five years judges have cleared 678 cases, but some judges completed far more cases. The system operates on a sliding scale, so judges who fail to meet the top standards could see their performance review downgraded.

Along with those requirements, judges will also need to meet thresholds in other areas including a demand that 85 percent of cases for people that have been detained be completed in three days after a judge has heard the merits of the particular case.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously stressed the work his department is doing to reduce the immigration case backlog, which numbers into the hundreds of thousands.

Clearing through those cases would allow the administration to speed up deportation proceedings, which would coincide with other reported efforts to step up the enforcement of immigration laws.

President Donald Trump complained over the weekend that undocumented immigrants are taking advantage of “dumb laws.” Trump has also repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with some legal requirements that can slow down the process for deportation.

The new quotas are set to take effect in October.

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