Amanda Terkel, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washington Dc discussed on The Takeaway
Us to discuss all this is Greg Chen. He's the director of government relations for the American immigration lawyers association. Gregg, welcome to the takeaway. Thank you for having me Tenzin. So let's take a broad look across the country when it comes to the immigration courts and the government shutdown. What are we seeing what is most dramatic as the example of the story? Mr. OTS feeling shows is that the president's shutdown is jeopardizing the lives of asylum seekers and other immigrants who have been waiting often for years for their cases to be resolved. And what that means is that asylum seekers who are worried about their lives at that. They could still be sent back to dangerous conditions in their home countries. They're still waiting in limbo and evidence in their case could go stale witnesses who are going to provide declarations and information showing the persecution and the violence that these people have suffered could be lost. And so the. This shutdown is really making the courts, not operational at this point and lives are going to be people are really going to be hurt by this. What about attorneys how are they handling the situation? I mean, do they understand how this shutdown is affecting their clients? Well, we are still trying to figure that out and with fifteen thousand immigration lawyer members across the country. Will we are hearing from our members that they're having their cases be delayed and an off the docket and as judged habit or described the vast majority of cases in this backlog of more than he heard thousand cases now possibly more than a million. If all the additional cases are added as the administration has planned to do. Those vast majority of cases, those are the ones that are sitting on the dockets in the non detain calendar. These people that are not in detention of any kind those cases are being pushed off, and they will have to wait typically more than a year in New York. We're talking about probably not having your. Case go back on until two thousand twenty two or twenty twenty three. That's a few years out and attorneys are still trying to figure out what to do to make sure these severe delays don't hurt their clients as we mentioned in the introduction. There is a severe backlog of these cases even before the shutdown happened. We interview judge Ashley tab for who was with the national association of immigration judges. And she told us the following we need to remove the immigration court from the Justice department, the backlog that we're seeing now and the functionality that we're seeing now all stem from the fact that we have an immigration court run by a prosecutor. So it is absolutely indefensible to have a court that have that ability of a prosecutor to interfere and interested in the courts for non perspectives and policy. You can't have the executive branch responsible for the enforcement of the law. As well. As education of claims that are brought result at the enforcement of those laws. Greg your thoughts on that is judged tab adore correct is the lack of independence for immigration courts. Partly to blame for the backlog Ayla. The American workers cessation does agree with position that the immigration courts can no longer be part of the department of Justice controlled by the attorney general, and it's true that the backlog of cases was already very large before this ministration took office, but policies that the Trump administration has implemented particularly under attorney general Jeff Sessions and his successors seem to be taking the same approach. Those policies have made worse they are literally preventing the courts from being able to operate efficiently, and the are literally hamstringing judges from being able to manage the dockets. So that they can take the cases that are requiring more urgent review. So they can make. Those decisions appropriately in a timely manner. They're holding those up, and what's happening is a we are seeing that due process for asylum seekers, a console rights are being affected here. Do they have any to those those folks have any recourse, given this shutdown? I mean, or is it really just a question of wait and see and we've got about thirty seconds left. Well, the policies of the administration are being challenged in the courts now, especially decisions that will directly limit the right of asylum seekers to be able to get fair review of their cases. Those are going to be challenged by lawyers in the courts, we will make sure to stop this. The constitution protects the rights of asylum seekers who are seeking protection in the courts and the courts can operate properly to guarantee that that is just not the American way. Greg China's the director of government relations for the American immigration lawyers association. Greg thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me. Let's get more now on the politics of the government shutdown. Amanda terkel is the Washington DC bureau chief for huffpost. Amanda, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for having me. So we're in a stalemate here day seventeen. Are you hearing any solutions that might get us out of this? No. There's no right now there is no meeting scheduled between the White House and congressional leaders. It seems like a speaker Nancy Pelosi who is of course, a democrat wants to start considering individual bills to that would reopen the government and fun individual agencies. But that doesn't look like it's going anywhere in the Senate because Mitch McConnell doesn't want to take up something that President Trump won't side. And basically, the dynamics are still you have President Trump who is insisting that he gets five point seven billion dollars for his wall. And you have Democrats who say no way, and until something changes there. Nothing's happening. Well in the middle of all this as we know there are people's lives hanging in the balance. We just did a segment on the impact of the shutdown on immigration courts people's cases that are being backed up, but outside of that federal employees are just not getting paid from judges to TSA workers. I understand the politics of this. But I'm just thinking is there anything that will break this other than? The president's wall. What is going to happen is there's going to be more public pressure. Lawmakers to do something you already have three Senate Republicans Susan Collins, Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis they're facing tough reelection races in twenty twenty. So maybe this is part of why there are speaking out a little bit more. But they said they wanna see some resolution and they're not standing with Trump necessarily. So you you talked about all these federal workers who are facing these tough circumstances who aren't getting paid. They're going to be speaking up even more as the shutdown drags on. It's now the second longest shutdown in history. And if it goes through the weekend that'll be the longest one ever. Well, that's what I was gonna say to. I mean, you think about just the TSA folks who are, you know, this could actually present security issues for a lot of folks, I'm wondering if you think that the public pressure will be enough to get some movement on either side here, I think it will be eventually definitely I mean, that's what's ended these shutdowns in the past. I mean. Do you think people think about federal workers is all being centered around DC, but that's not actually true federal workers more federal workers work at other parts of the country than in Washington DC. And so people are hearing about this from all over the place, and we've talked about the people who aren't working aren't getting paid. But then you as you said, they're all these workers who are working and who still aren't getting paid. And they have to figure out how they're paying for child care. They have to figure out how they're paying for their rent. And they have all these bills that they need to keep up with it. Just because their paycheck maybe coming. Eventually. That's not good enough. Yeah. I have a feeling a government shutdown. No matter what side of the political divide your on. It's going to be less and less palatable as people don't get paid as the weeks go on and you have taxis and coming up next month's is when people start filing to get returns and to get refunds and the IRS right now isn't equipped to do that. And so you're going to have people mad there. And then you have this issue of the national part at least. Seven people have died and national park since the shutdown began investigations into those deaths have been delayed because they haven't been able to have the workers to look into them. And so there's a lot of public safety issues as well. Amanda terkel is the Washington DC bureau chief for huffpost. Amanda. Thank you. Thank you. On the next on being visual storyteller. Myra Calman on the normal daily things we.