News Corner

Weakening Our Immigration System

House Panel Pushes to Further Fragment Our Immigration System by Moving Courts


Joseph Edlow, General Counsel to the Republican Party in Montgomery County, Maryland, is a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and former acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security.


From the Daily Signal

In a move that will prove to be all smoke and mirrors, the House Judiciary Committee is set to consider a bill that would displace immigration courts and their parent agency from the Justice Department and create an independent court outside the executive branch.

Although touted as a way to cut down on bureaucracy and politics and instead ensure swifter justice, the structure created by HR 6577—the proposed Real Courts, Rule of Law Act—would prove ineffective when paired with the stagnant immigration enforcement wing of the federal government and be crippled by its own growing pains. 

Let’s put aside the legitimate constitutional questions of replacing the authority granted to the U.S. attorney general with an Article I court outside the executive branch. This restructuring is both ill-conceived and ill-timed, and could serve only as the metaphorical straw that finally breaks the back of our immigration system.

The notion of an immigration court unattached to the executive branch is not new. The National Association of Immigration Judges, a union, has lobbied for this position in an attempt to move outside the auspices of the Justice Department. This effort intensified in 2017, as the courts’ parent agency, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, attempted to introduce performance metrics as a method of tracking case efficiencies. 

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The renewed push comes from the misguided notion that moving the courts outside the Justice Department would speed up their efficiency and somehow be the lynchpin to unclogging the more than 1.5 million cases pending before immigration courts nationwide. Numerous reasons exist for that backlog, as my colleagues Cully Stimson and Giancarlo Canaparo argued here, and ways also exist to radically eliminate that backlog, as they opined in their research. 

The simple question that Congress should be asking is: Would creating a new court fix the problem?  The answer is clear: no.

Although judges would face new rigors in the hiring process, including some positions requiring Senate confirmation, the bill provides for continuity in court rules and existing precedent, at least until new ones could be established.

Furthermore, for a court system that has been plagued with continuances and other delays, it is unclear how removing the current immigration court system from within the Justice Department somehow magically would create a swifter process. The current immigration judge corps, 578 strong across 545 courtrooms nationwide, averages about 13,600 case completions a month.

Without drastic changes to immigration court practice, including limitations on continuance, it is unrealistic to suggest that this proposed restructuring will produce additional efficiencies in the process.  If anything, the move would provide the opposite. 

As a matter of practicality, any restructuring, especially one this bold, would take time to implement. During a phased-in implementation, it is unclear how the courts would continue to function at all. Instead, the immigration court system could experience a virtual work stoppage for a period while the transition, even if only on paper, is in process. 

In a larger sense, the idea that this restructuring would bring about some great awakening in immigration reform and swift justice lacks merit. In drafting the bill, Congress failed to recognize that you can’t fix a system where not all components are acting in accordance with the law. 

In this context, the government agency charged with immigration enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, repeatedly has demonstrated since the Pekoske Memorandum of Jan. 20, 2021, immediately suspending removals, that enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws would be scrutinized and disregarded.

In recent months, memos from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement continue to erode our immigration enforcement procedures. One such memo suggests that ICE’s trial lawyers, the prosecutors representing the government in immigration court, may not be needed to appear in court for many hearings.

Meanwhile, after an immigration judge’s order of removal is final, those orders go unexecuted as the Department of Homeland Security has demonstrated no ability, willingness, or—more recently—directives to follow through on the court’s actions. 

In its recently published annual report, ICE touted its approximately 59,000 removals in fiscal year 2021 as an accomplishment. For comparison, since 2014, immigration judges have ordered over 379,000 aliens removed in absentia (for failure to appear for a scheduled hearing). This doesn’t include any alien who presented an application, was denied, and ordered removed, or who appealed and subsequently was ordered removed.

Legislative action to restructure the court itself would be meaningless if it met this level of indifference in immigration enforcement. 

The House Judiciary Committee has held a hearing on the bill and now will mark it up, debating amendments as the Biden border crisis continues to rage. As we wait for Customs and Border Protection to release yet another month’s worth of border encounters to add to an already staggering figure for this fiscal year, reform and restructuring of immigration courts is nothing more than a misdirected, tepid response.

Instead of using its oversight authority to review the government’s many misapplications and instances of sheer disregard for immigration law in the past year, Congress is looking to trade one bureaucracy for another. Although rampant abuse in processing at the border is matched with toothless immigration enforcement priorities in the interior, Congress is looking to further grind the system to a halt. 

This bill isn’t immigration reform. It won’t make the border more secure, close loopholes easily exploited in our immigration laws, or move this country in the direction of ending the Biden border crisis.

Supporters herald HR 6577 as reform, but in reality the bill is a bureaucratic solution in search of a problem.    

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 



A New Congressional Map for Maryland

A New Congressional Map for Maryland

By Neil Parrott

Great news!  The voters of Maryland have won.  The extremely partisan gerrymandered congressional map that was passed in December by the legislature has officially been stopped.

To see Maryland’s new congressional map and to read a specific analysis of how this applies to District 6, please go to  

I have been glad to fight for fair representation for the people of Maryland for over 10 years with Judicial Watch’s help.  

First, as Chairman of, I worked with Maryland citizens all over the state to gather over 65,000 signatures to force the redistricting map on the ballot for the 2012 election.  Judicial Watch then helped me sue the state to try to change the unfair language on the ballot question.  After that, we worked together to sue the state in federal court to try to overturn the 2012 map.  Finally, in 2022 we fought for and gained a victory for more fair elections.
Governor O’Malley, in court and during speaking engagements, indicated that the reason for dividing the Western Maryland District in 2012 was simply to remove Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett.  That map was wrong then, and the 2021 map that continued that division was even worse.

The 2021 map that I took to court with Judicial Watch was an 8 Democrat to 0 Republican.  The map was overturned by Judge Lynn Battaglia who indicated that the map was “an outlier and a produce of extreme partisan gerrymandering.”  That map pushed through by the Democrat Leadership in the General Assembly where every Republican legislator voted against it and where Governor Hogan vetoed it.  

Think about it; that map would have significantly hindered any Republican in Maryland from being elected to the US Congress.  Republicans consistently garner over 38% of the votes for congress which would suggest 2.8 Republican Congressman in the Federal Delegation

While still a gerrymander, the 2022 map passed by the General Assembly on March 30, 2022, finally attempted to respect political boundaries and restored all of Frederick County into Congressional District 6, as it should have been all along.
After reaching a deal with the Attorney General (AG), Governor Hogan signed the new map into law on April 5th. The deal meant that the AG's office wouldn't try to overturn Judge Battaglia's ruling and that the Governor and I, along with the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, wouldn't continue in court to work for a different map.

As such, the extremely partisan gerrymandered map that was passed in December 2021 is gone.  This is a huge victory for the people of Maryland.
Is the new map completely fair?  No.  But it is much better for the people of Maryland, which was the ultimate goal.
Now that the map is settled, I look forward to running for US Congress in a district where the people will actually have a chance to pick their representatives, rather than having the incumbent politicians handpick their voters to protect their seats.  To learn more about my race for Congress, please visit and see how you can help.

Neighbors Challenge School Board

Neighbors Challenge the Frederick County School Board

The folks in Frederick County want better schooling for their community. A non-partisan group has banded together to fight the Woke, far-left Board and Teachers Unions who’ve taken over the public education system, and they’re being supported in their run for the School Board.

Called Education – NOT Indoctrination they’re gaining steam in their efforts to lead the charge and return public education to quality education. Check out their website HERE.

Neighbors help each other improve their communities, drop them a  line if you're interested in helping them.


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