The Accidental History of the U. S. Immigration Courts: War, Fear, and the Roots of Dysfunction

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Univ of California Press, May 18, 2021 - History - 239 pages
How the immigration courts became part of the nation's law enforcement agency--and how to reshape them.

During the Trump administration, the immigration courts were decried as more politicized enforcement weapon than impartial tribunal. Yet few people are aware of a fundamental flaw in the system that has long pre-dated that administration: The immigration courts are not really "courts" at all but an office of the Department of Justice--the nation's law enforcement agency.

This original and surprising diagnosis shows how paranoia sparked by World War II and the War on Terror drove the structure of the immigration courts. Focusing on previously unstudied decisions in the Roosevelt and Bush administrations, the narrative laid out in this book divulges both the human tragedy of our current immigration court system and the human crises that led to its creation. Moving the reader from understanding to action, Alison Peck offers a lens through which to evaluate contemporary bills and proposals to reform our immigration court system. Peck provides an accessible legal analysis of recent events to make the case for independent immigration courts, proposing that the courts be moved into an independent, Article I court system. As long as the immigration courts remain under the authority of the attorney general, the administration of immigration justice will remain a game of political football--with people's very lives on the line.

 

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The Accidental History of the U.S. Immigration Courts: War, Fear, and the Roots of Dysfunction

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

West Virginia University law professor Peck debuts with an eye-opening look at how the history and structure of U.S. immigration courts contribute to present-day problems. Unlike the Supreme Court and ... Read full review

Contents

The Attorney Generals Immigration Courts
11
Policing the Immigration Courts
27
A New Type of Tough in the Department of Labor
49
Refusal
66
Invasion
77
The Welles Mission
88
Alien Enemies
103
Checks and Imbalances
145
Reforming the Immigration Courts
160
Portrait of an American in
167
Notes
173
Bibliography
201
Index
211
Copyright

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About the author (2021)

Alison Peck is Professor of Law and Codirector of the Immigration Law Clinic at West Virginia University College of Law.

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