New York State Bar Association President Sharon Stern Gerstman today released the following statement in response to Trump Administration-proposed case completion deadlines and quotas on immigration judges. Gerstman also urged legislative reform and a statutory right to counsel for immigrants facing legal issues:“The New York State Bar Association has long supported judicial independence as essential to maintaining the rule of law and protecting individual rights. An independent judiciary, able to make rulings based upon the law, rather than under pressure from the legislative or executive branch, is a vital part of our system of checks and balances.
“Proposed quotas for judges’ performance evaluations undermines the rule of law and unjustly threatens the legal rights and access to justice of those facing immigration issues. Immigration matters often involve very high stakes and include the potential for civil detention, removal and permanent expulsion from the United States.
“The State Bar’s Special Committee on Immigration Representation studied the problem of adequate immigration representation in 2012, and proposed solutions to improve the quality and availability of legal representation to ensure that immigrants, especially those of low income, have access to competent immigration assistance throughout New York State. The committee’s report made clear that, without legislative reform and a statutory right to counsel, these efforts would unlikely yield significant results.”
Since 1876, the New York State Bar Association helps shape the development of law, educates and informs the legal profession and the public, and champions the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Link to report: NYSBA.org/immigrationreport
For pro bono opportunities, visit www.nysbaprobono.orgContact: Christina Couto
State Bar News Editorccouto@nysba.org