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This article was originally published on February 03, 2022.

Today, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced a bill that would reshape the nation’s immigration courts by making them independent of the Department of Justice (DOJ), led by the U.S. attorney general. The bill would create a new immigration court system under Article I of the U.S. Constitution and it would ensure that judges are unbiased, that court procedures are transparent to the public, and that the executive branch does not decide on the court’s budget. The Tahirih Justice Center believes this bill is an important step to ensure a fair process for immigrants where matters of life and liberty are at stake.

“Independent immigration courts are critical to ensuring access to a full and fair process for immigrant survivors of violence and other people seeking asylum,” said Archi Pyati, CEO for the Tahirih Justice Center. “Given the bias, delays, and unfairness rampant in the current system, it is high time that the courts are removed from administrative control and become independent. Survivors must be able to pursue justice within a system that is credible, neutral, and accountable.”

This bill is urgently needed to help resolve the overwhelming case backlog – over a million cases – that weighs down the entire immigration system. Tahirih hopes that this bill can move forward with bipartisan support.

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