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
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 and
other terrorists. The picture is coming into focus.
The EOIR bureaucracy really is a
detriment to the homeland security mission of
immigration law enforcement.
The most expedient strategy for handling the
EOIR 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
Board of Immigration Appeals. With the INS
abolished, the EOIR is a complete mismatch among
DOJ agencies — the
U.S. Marshals Service and
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”
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 division.
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.
- Direct the INS Commissioner to designate the “whole enchilada” of
Immigration Act Section 235(b)(1)(A)(iii)
expedited removal for all illegal aliens possible
under existing law – as was done recently for aliens
arriving “at sea.”
- Begin the process to
audit, review and
abolish 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
January 12, 2003