Aug 10, 2018

Immigration judges push back amid concerns over judicial independence

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The union representing immigration judges is pushing back against the Trump administration for undermining judicial independence after the Justice Department stripped a Philadelphia judge of his authority over 87 deportation cases, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: This is a classic reflection of the growing rift between the Trump administration and immigration judges, who, unlike those under the judicial branch, have little protections to their judicial independence.

What's happening: The National Association of Immigration Judges filed a labor grievance this week in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' overriding of a judge’s decision and removal of dozens of cases involving undocumented immigrants.

  • Judge Steven Morley was reportedly overseeing juvenile cases which he either continued, or placed on hold due to questions over whether attorneys at the Justice Department had duly notified defendants to appear in court.

The backstory: The case that sparked the dispute involves a Guatemalan national who arrived in the U.S. in 2014 as a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor, and didn't appear before Morley. The Post reports that Morley temporarily closed the case and ordered DOJ to ensure Reynaldo Castro-Tum, whose whereabouts are unknown, had received his notice.

What they're saying: The union is urging DOJ to reassign the cases to Morely, and pleaded for judicial independence.

  • "We’re very concerned the immigration judges are simply being turned into law enforcement officers," said Laura Lynch of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, per the Post.

The federal law enforcement agency reportedly said Morley might have violated federal law and an investigation remains ongoing.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 664,695 — Total deaths: 30,847 — Total recoveries: 140,156.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 124,464 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by late Saturday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states. The CDC later announced domestic travel restrictions for the states.

Why it matters: Trump said hours earlier he was considering quarantine measures to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN such a measure would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health