During Wednesday afternoon's debate of the immigration reform bill, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) read a guest column in the Des Moines Register that blasted the bill for failing to address weaknesses in the nation's immigration courts. The column was written by former immigration court judge Mark H. Metcalf. You can read it here.
What is sold as a means to simplify and dignify one of our most important national institutions — immigration and naturalization — mandates complexity and much of the same disorder that got us where we are today. The bill's neglect of an effective court system only aggravates this disorder.
America's immigration courts are weak, and this latest measure keeps them that way. Put simply, immigration courts cannot impose order. Few aliens ordered removed after years of litigation are ever deported.
Near the end of the column, Metcalf adds this criticism of the Senate debate of the immigration reform bill:
So now, instead of debating how we extend the great prize of American citizenship to more of the world's bright and talented, Congress argues whether felons should be deported. This is the small-ball politics that has sabotaged public confidence in immigration. It shows how far we have fallen both in the mission of these special courts and with immigration in general.
Courts without authority cannot provide order. Even less can they assure liberty.
Metcalf is the author of the CIS Backgrounder "Built to Fail: Deception and Disorder in America's Immigration Courts".