Gallagher Slams Biden's Attempt to Clear Cases From Immigration Court Backlog


Date: April 6, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Immigration

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) today released the following statement on reports that the Biden Administration is directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys to consider dismissing hundreds of thousands of cases pending in the immigration court system.

"President Biden's open border policies have single-handedly created the greatest backlog of immigration court cases in history. And no matter how much he wants to believe it, he can't fix this chaos by waving a magic wand to erase hundreds of thousands of cases. If the Biden administration is serious about addressing the backlog, it should immediately support my bill to give immigration judges contempt authority so they can punish individuals who abuse the system and fail to show up to their court date. As the Heritage Foundation said, this is an important and bipartisan solution that could significantly help address the border crisis."

Last year, Rep. Gallagher introduced several common sense immigration reform bills, including the Empowering Immigration Courts Act, which would give immigration judges the authority to impose criminal fines on anyone in contempt of their court.

The inability to impose fines on those in contempt of court has been cited as a leading reason why immigration judges face an ever-increasing caseload. The American Bar Association's (ABA) 2019 report titled, "Reforming the Immigration System" noted that absent the authority to hold litigants in contempt of court, "immigration judges are again rendered powerless to control their own courtrooms and enforce compliance with potential time saving programs." The Heritage Foundation also published a study indicating that this lack of authority means those that come before the court "cannot be held accountable to the judge with respect to matters such as timelines, docketing dates, or even court orders."