(Not a good time to ask the Dictator for help.)
Judges balk at speedy deportations
November 14, 2004
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH AND NATASHA KORECKI Staff Reporters
A revolt against Bush administration attempts to speed up deportations for some immigrants is coming from an unlikely source.
The Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is one of the more conservative federal appellate courts in the country. But faced with horror stories of refugees tortured in their homelands, yet denied asylum here, 7th Circuit judges are overturning deportation orders and slamming the immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals for ignoring claims of political persecution.
"What was the immigration judge thinking?" an exasperated Judge Richard Posner asked in a Nov. 1 ruling reversing an order to send a Jewish family back to Muslim Turkmenistan.
The immigration judge had said that because only Ahmed Mamedov's father -- not his mother -- was Jewish, the discrimination against him "was not as significant as he claims."
Posner responded, "It's like saying that a Jew in Nazi Germany was OK as long as he was of German nationality."
Posner and his fellow jurists have stepped up their criticism of the immigration judges and the Virginia-based Board of Immigration Appeals, a body that outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft "streamlined" from 19 judges to 11. The board now issues fewer opinions, affirming deportation orders with a mere sentence. That has led more refugees to take their appeals to the federal courts.
"Ashcroft dumped a whole lot of cases on the Court of Appeals," said Nadine K. Wettstein, director of the American Immigration Law Foundation's Legal Action Center. "It seems like [Posner] is annoyed now, and he doesn't hold back. He doesn't see that they're doing what they are supposed to be doing."
Courts around the country are balking at the increased number of asylum cases and what they call sloppy or nonexistent work from the immigration judges or the board. The liberal 9th Circuit on the West Coast reverses many deportation orders, but nothing close to Posner and his Republican-appointed colleagues on the 7th.
FULL STORY--- http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-immig14.html