DOJ making changes to agency that runs immigration courts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is making changes to the agency that runs the country’s immigration courts and giving its director authority to weigh in and make appellate rulings.

The interim rule announced Friday by the Justice Department faced immediate criticism by the immigration judges’ union and immigration lawyers’ association, who say the Trump administration is trying to exert political sway over immigration court decisions.

The rule gives the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review the ability to issue appellate decisions in cases that haven’t been decided within an allotted timeframe.

It comes as the Justice Department has sought to terminate the immigration judges’ union and imposed performance targets amid a surge in Central American families arriving on the southwest border.

The rule takes effect 60 days from Monday.

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