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February 03, 2022

ABA supports Lofgren bill to create independent immigration court system

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2022 – The American Bar Association today endorsed legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to create an independent Article I immigration court system.

Currently, immigration courts are within the U.S. Justice Department, ultimately supervised by the U.S. attorney general. Since 2006, the ABA has supported restructuring the courts so they are not controlled by any executive branch cabinet officer. In 2010, the ABA recommended the creation of an independent Article I immigration court system.

“The American Bar Association has high regard for the mission and goals of the Justice Department, but we strongly support the creation of an independent Article I immigration court system,” ABA President Reginald Turner said. “It is essential that every judge is free to decide cases based solely on the facts and the law, without external pressure or influence. The ABA thanks Rep. Lofgren for her leadership in this matter.”

On Jan. 20, Karen T. Grisez, former chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration, testified on behalf of the ABA, stating the bar association’s position in favor of creating independent Article I Immigration courts. Her testimony was before the Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Lofgren.

Grisez’s written testimony is online here and video of the subcommittee hearing is here. The most recent report by the ABA Commission on Immigration on the need for immigration reform is online here.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.