EOIR litigation bureaucracy is the problem, not the solution

Now that the public outcry against the
Immigration and Naturalization Service has risen
to a fever pitch in our post-September 11th
world, I would like to let you in on a little
secret. There have been many great suggestions
for immigration reform published recently,
including those on VDARE.com,


and by

Congressman Tom Tancredo and the House
Immigration Reform Caucus
. But they have all
overlooked a key piece of the puzzle in
immigration reform, the four-letter word of the
Department of Justice — EOIR — the Executive
Office for Immigratin Review.

There is hope though. It looks like the Attorney
General has the EOIR`s number. On February 6, 2002,

a much-needed plan
by the Bush administration to
scale back the EOIR and reform its inefficient appellate
body, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), brought
the EOIR`s momentum of bureaucratic expansion to a
crashing halt.

Read more
about the Bush administration plan.

According to their web official site, “the
Executive Office for Immigration Review
was created
on January 9, 1983, through an internal Department of
Justice (DOJ) reorganization which combined the Board of
Immigration Appeals (BIA) with the Immigration Judge
function previously performed by the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS). Besides establishing EOIR
as a separate agency within DOJ, this reorganization
made the Immigration Courts independent of INS, the
agency charged with enforcement of federal immigration

What a mistake that was – creating a separate agency
to hold the keys to the jail for every single alien that
the INS detains in the United States, while insuring
that the aliens` immigration cases are kept in perpetual
bureaucratic limbo. This experience should serve as a
warning to those embarking on reorganizing the INS
again. In order to avoid another bureaucratic nightmare,
the EOIR – this pruned branch of the INS, this evil twin
of the most hated agency of the DOJ – must be gutted,
eliminated or rendered unrecognizable with its functions
streamlined or parceled out to other agencies who can do
the job.

While the INS is treated as the most hated agency in
the Department of Justice, with routine beatings in
Congress and in the media, its fellow DOJ agency, the
EOIR hides in the shadows. No one outside of a small
group of lawyers and bureaucrats even knows it exists.
But when it comes to the federal government actually
deporting aliens, no agency is more important – all
roads lead to the EOIR. Unless aliens want to leave on
their own, no one gets deported until the EOIR says it`s

Every alien being detained on immigration violations
by the INS is waiting for (or has already had) a hearing
before an Immigration Judge of the EOIR. The entire
detention operation of the INS is geared toward serving
up aliens to the bottleneck of all endless legal
bottlenecks known as the Immigration Court system. Given
this endless hearing and appeal process, the INS cannot
possibly detain every illegal alien indefinitely while
waiting for a resolution of these cases. So when faced
with EOIR bureaucracy, the INS turns around and releases
most aliens to the streets. While their cases grind on
interminably in Immigration Court, the aliens continue
living in the United States.

Unless an alien wants to leave the U.S. voluntarily
(after being arrested by the INS or U.S. Border Patrol),
every alien in the United States must enter EOIR`s
system and go before an Immigration Judge. Fortunately
for the aliens, the EOIR`s bench of Immigration Judges
consists largely of former activist legal aid lawyers,
agenda-driven private immigration attorneys and
“sleeper” liberal attorneys from within the Department
of Justice. The bottom line is that the EOIR as a group
is unashamedly pro-alien. So to the rare Immigration
Judges who actually order criminal aliens deported, and
who have the courage to deny discretionary forms of
relief in Immigration Court, I salute you!

Immigration Judges operate within the esoteric world
of immigration law where most aliens wind up being
eligible to stay in the United States and “win” their
case. From the alien`s perspective, the longer they
remain in the system, the better. Aliens really have
little to fear in Immigration Court. The EOIR is a
system where the alien wins just by being in it; and as
every insider knows, “it`s not over until the alien

It is time for the public to know just what a
bureaucratic boondoggle the EOIR represents. The EOIR`s
nationwide alien liars` forum called “United States
Immigration Court” and its Byzantine appellate body
known as the “Board of Immigration Appeals” is the
little-known stumbling block to streamlining the process
of removing aliens and criminal alien residents from our
country. The EOIR is the bureaucratic delay for which
the INS is continually flogged by the immigrants` rights
groups. The EOIR is the bureaucracy behind the INS
bureaucracy. Combine this crushing bureaucracy with the
prolific mismanagement and misallocation of resources
that is the INS, and our enemies have little to fear.

As we all now know, the 1993 and 2001 bombers of the
World Trade Center are an assortment of foreign
nationals who are student visa over-stayers, illegal
entrants, pending political asylum applicants and
parolees. But even if all of their fellow foreign
conspirators were rounded up tomorrow, under the current
deportation system, they all would be set up for
hearings before an Immigration Judge of the EOIR. The
INS would not be able to deport anyone until it receives
the go-ahead from on high by the EOIR. The process could
last years. And if the alien is detained, the
Immigration Judge would have the opportunity to lower or
eliminate the immigration bond that was set by the INS
to hold the alien in custody.

Most bond reductions are granted as a matter of
routine. If things somehow turn sour in court for the
aliens, and they are not detained, the aliens can always
disappear without a trace, never to be heard from again.
Just as there is no mechanism in place for tracking and
rounding up visa over-stayers, the INS has no practical
way to find aliens after release on parole or
immigration bond. Remember, these aliens in Immigration
Court proceedings have already been arrested. They are
the ones that the INS already knows about; yet they are
released from detention every day. The government
receives $1,500 or $5,000 or $7,500 (for example) of
immigration bond money for each alien released through
this revolving door; yet the actual costs to our nation
are enormous. This is scandalous.

The fact of the matter is that the deportation system
in the United States is voluntary. Except for the most
heinous criminal aliens, anyone in proceedings before
the EOIR is eligible for many perverse incentives in the
Immigration and Nationality Act which reward illegal
conduct. Under the right circumstances, aliens
apprehended smuggling drugs who are in Immigration Court
proceedings might actually wind up with a brand new
“green card” when it`s all over. There`s also always the
option of crying “political asylum,” and even if you`re
a murderer, you could still ask for “withholding of
removal” or “deferral of removal under the convention
against torture.”

Aliens in Immigration Court use international alien
smuggling to get themselves into the system, then lie
their way out of it. Good liars in political asylum
hearings often are rewarded with new “green cards.” Bad
liars might temporarily “lose” their cases before the
INS asylum office or at the trial level in Immigration
Court, but they can always appeal to the even more
liberal and clandestine Board of Immigration Appeals. If
that doesn`t work, they can go to appellate court again
in the federal circuits. Months and years pass with
every step of the process. Detained aliens are few and
far between.

Coupled with the revolving door of “humanitarian
parole” by the INS, as well as “immigration bonds” set
by the INS and lowered routinely by the EOIR`s
Immigration Judges, most aliens are given the privilege
of “fighting their case” while living happy lives in the
United States. The aliens always have the ongoing option
of disappearing into American society. Who really wins?
With the EOIR, it`s not over until the alien wins.

As long as the EOIR is around, there will be no
immigration reform in the United States. Throwing money
at the U.S. Border Patrol or the INS will do nothing to
streamline the removal of foreign nations who have
violated our immigration laws. To cut the bureaucratic
red tape out of the deportation process and streamline
our labyrinth of immigration law, the EOIR`s Board of
Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts need to be

No matter what becomes of the INS, no reform of
America`s immigration system will be complete until
Congress does one more thing: abolish the EOIR.

August 01, 2002