Mimi Tsankov


The Article will begin by outlining the basic structure of the existing system and identifying some of the key changes that have impacted IJs (Immigation Judges) on the bench, which have driven us to a moment in history that many argue is our most tenuous. Part I will offer a brief overview of our court structure for context. Part II will explain how, after a tumultuous five years, Immigration Courts are currently significantly tarnished such that rehabilitation of the existing system may serve a short-term purpose but will inevitably fail to address the larger, fundamental inequities that result from a nonindependent court. Part III advocates for the creation of an independent Immigration Court, recognizing it as the only way to avoid the back-and-forth that politics imposes on the current system. The Article concludes that the system needs clearer separation of IJ responsibilities, because an Immigration Court housed within the DOJ enables political leaders to influence and control the daily judicial functions of the Ids who preside over removal cases. Unless fundamental changes are made, Immigration Courts will continue to struggle to be neutral bodies, free from interference, and the process will remain vulnerable to political impulse.