News

Law & the Courts

‘Apply the Law’ — Sessions Cautions Immigrations Judges Against Allowing ‘Sympathy’ to Cloud Judgment

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Attorney general Jeff Sessions called on incoming immigration judges on Monday to enforce the law without falling prey to defense attorneys seeking to pervert justice and their sympathetic clients.

“When we depart from the law and create nebulous legal standards out of a sense of sympathy for the personal circumstances of a respondent in our immigration courts, we do violence to the rule of law and constitutional fabric that bind this great nation. Your job is to apply the law — even in tough cases,” Sessions told the 44 newly appointed judges concluding their training in Fall Church, Va., according to Buzzfeed News.

Sessions, who provides guidance for the nation’s 350 immigration judges, urged the Department of Justice employees to remain vigilant in the face of defense attorneys who use their training to “get around” U.S. immigration law.

“Good lawyers, using all of their talents and skill, work every day — like water seeping through an earthen dam — to get around the plain words of the [Immigration and Nationality Act] to advance their clients’ interests. Theirs is not the duty to uphold the integrity of the act. That is our most serious duty,” the former Alabama senator said.

Under Sessions, the Department of Justice has sought to constrain illegal immigration by reducing the number of acceptable justifications for asylum, implementing case quotas for judges and limiting judges’ autonomy in indefinitely suspending cases. Speaking the incoming judges Monday, Sessions characterized the direction of his department as a reflection of the American people’s will.

“They want a safe, secure border and a lawful system of immigration that actually works. Let’s deliver it for them,” Sessions said.

Representatives of the the National Association of Immigration Judges, a union that has long sought to secure immigration judges’ independence from the DOJ, criticized Sessions for attempting to sway the judges toward the prosecutorial perspective.

“The reality is that it is a political statement which does not articulate a legal concept that judges are required to be aware of and follow,” Dana Marks, a spokesperson for the National Association of Immigration Judges and an immigration judge in San Francisco, told Buzzfeed. “It did appear to be a one-sided argument made by a prosecutor.”

Most Popular

Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
Film & TV

The Manly Appeal of Ford v Ferrari

There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Theater of Trolls

As a boy, I used to watch a television show with a weekly gag titled “MasterJoke Theatre.” A pompous egghead smoked a pipe in a leather-bound chair in a richly appointed library, told a joke, and got a pie in the face for his trouble. What the Democrats launched on the Hill this week is their own variant, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More