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Proposal to Create Independent Immigration Courts Finally Makes Headway

Plus: Senate votes to advance Biden’s ICE nominee, while advocates urge senators to scrutinize the nominee to lead DHS’ intelligence arm

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A newly introduced federal bill would create an independent immigration court system, which immigration lawyers and advocates have lobbied for over the past few years. Critics have argued that it is difficult to ensure justice when the immigration courts are under the authority of one person: the U.S. attorney general, who is also the chief prosecutor on immigration matters. The restructuring would ensure immigration judges are not susceptible to politicking, and can manage their own dockets and budget. Bloomberg

In other federal immigration news…

Senate votes to advance Biden’s ICE nominee

Senators in the Homeland Security Committee voted along party lines to advance President Joe Biden’s nominee, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE has not had a Senate-confirmed leader in five years, and Gonzalez, who is currently the sheriff of Texas’s most populous county, is now one step closer to leading the federal agency. Still, he has some challenges ahead of him, particularly in the Senate. Republicans have criticized him for the decision he made as a sheriff to restrict cooperation with ICE. Law360

Advocates Urge Senate to Scrutinize Biden’s Nominee to Lead DHS’ Intelligence Arm

Civil liberties advocates are urging U.S. senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate Ken Wainstein’s background before confirming him to lead DHS’ intelligence division. His work in post-9/11 surveillance and counterterrorism initiatives has led to criticism that he should be disqualified from the position and not permitted back into government. Though lawmakers are considering the criticism against Wainstein, there is no indication yet whether it will change the course of his nomination. Bloomberg

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