An Open Letter To The Attorney General About Immigration Law Enforcement

Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:

The time is fast approaching when you will surrender
the Immigration and Naturalization Service – the pride
of the Justice Department – to the new

Department of Homeland Security.
But take heart.

You still control the one agency within the
Department of Justice that is the power behind the
scenes in immigration law enforcement – and also the
greatest obstacle to real immigration reform in the
federal government: the Executive Office for Immigration
Review (EOIR.). 
The EOIR is the legal bureaucracy that regulates, and in
effect cripples, the deportation of illegal aliens.


truth about the EOIR
comes out one alien at a time –
in cases like sniper

John Lee Malvo,
criminal nanny

Melanie Jeanbeaucejour,
subway bombing plotter

Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer
, Los Angeles airport shooter

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet

other terrorists
. The picture is coming into focus.
The EOIR bureaucracy really is a

to the homeland security mission of
immigration law enforcement.

The most expedient strategy for handling the

litigation bureaucracy comes from the playbook
of General Colin Powell. It`s the same plan he used for

Iraqi army
in 1991 – “first we`re going to cut it
off, and then we`re going to kill it.”

The EOIR is already cut off.

It is an orphaned agency. Ensconced in Falls Church,
Virginia, the EOIR oversees a nationwide

Immigration Court
system and a Byzantine appellate
body, the

Board of Immigration Appeals
. With the INS
abolished, the EOIR is a complete mismatch among

DOJ agencies
— the



U.S. Marshals Service

the United States Attorneys.

The EOIR`s collection of

government attorneys
, some in black robes, some not,
should be disbanded. The EOIR`s resources and budget
could be put to better use within the DOJ. There it
could have an immediate impact in deterring illegal
immigration and punishing border criminals.

Former EOIR and

INS Legal Proceedings Program
attorneys could be
pressed into service as Special Assistant U.S.
Attorneys. They could handle the immigration-related
cases that just aren`t being prosecuted in federal
district court in great numbers — illegal entry into
the United States (8 U.S.C. Section 1325), reentry after
deportation (8 U.S.C. Section 1326) and alien smuggling
(8 U.S.C. Section 1327).

Others might become special magistrates to decide the
lowly cases federal judges don`t want to hear.

All the tax dollars and brainpower devoted to the
EOIR could be farmed out as “cheap labor” for the
federal criminal courts and the United States Attorneys
– to do the jobs these Americans don`t want to do.


abyss of EOIR litigation
, with its redundant
appellate process, squanders federal resources.
Government attorneys haggle over “orders of deportation”
while over

300,000 fugitives
from those orders are still on the

If the EOIR remains, the deportation bottleneck will
go unreformed, despite the new Department of Homeland

Abolishing the litigation log-jam of the EOIR is the
only long-term solution to gaining control of the
illegal alien and criminal alien threat to this country.

And right now, with the DHS in its formative stages,
it is important for you to take the lead in averting a
turf battle between the EOIR and the

Border and Transportation Security

If EOIR immigration judges continue to release aliens
from federal custody at an alarming rate, and DHS
officers are not given the full

expedited removal
power of

Immigration Act Section 235(b),
the federal
government will continue to be in the business of
letting aliens into the U.S. while pretending to be
deporting them. The

revolving door
of detention only facilitates


As Attorney General, you should consider giving these
housewarming gifts to the new Department of Homeland

  • Revoke the authority of EOIR
    immigration judges to review immigration bonds under 8
    C.F.R. Sections 3.19 and 236.

  • Begin the process to
    audit, review and

    the EOIR.

Now more than ever, the federal
government must detain and deport illegal aliens and
criminal alien residents.

Eliminating “immigration court” and
its endless appellate process is an idea whose time has

After 9/11, the failed EOIR system
is an ill-conceived foible that America can

no longer afford

Juan Mann, a lawyer, is the
proprietor of

January 12, 2003