JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Comrade Garland Purging Immigration Judges—But At Least He’s Not On SCOTUS
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Earlier: THE FULFORD FILE: The Garland Raids Vs. The Palmer Raids—Now The Communists Are In Control

The temper of immigration patriots like myself and my colleagues at was not improved by the news that Comrade Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice has been ridding itself of immigration judges (not actually judges, of course, see here) who are insufficiently accommodating to illegal aliens. Judges appointed by the Trump Administration have of course been the principal targets.

The Washington Times broke this news last week, telling us that at least six judges have been fired, or let go on thin and implausible pretexts [DOJ engaged in ‘court packing on steroids‘ with immigration judges, by Stephen Dinan, June 20, 2022].

It‘s not just judges, either. These immigration courts are supervised by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, an agency within the Justice Department run by career administrators; and four of this agency's top officials have been dismissed.

One of that four was the agency‘s actual Director; and this was the first time in the agency's history that a Director has been removed involuntarily.

One of the judges now out of a job, name of Matthew O‘Brien, who‘d presided over an immigration court in Arlington, Virginia, told the tale on Laura Ingraham's show last week:

The immigration courts are supposed to give people who are seeking to remain in the United States or have violated the immigration law a fair review of any claims they have made. The Biden administration is trying to turn the immigration court into, essentially, a free candy store, so that anyone who appears in front of the immigration court winds up getting some kind of benefit or being allowed to stay in the United States. And that‘s not what the courts were designed to do.

[Axed Judge Speaks Out on DOJ Effort to Pack Immigration Courts with Amnesty Judges, by Penny Starr, Breitbart, June 22, 2022]

You can watch it here:

In all fairness to Comrade Garland, it isn‘t just naked political spite that‘s driving these dismissals. There has developed a huge and unsightly backlog of cases waiting for review. The Biden Administration has decided to deal with that backlog by just dismissing most cases on sight.

Judge O'Brien has told us that a normal workload would be “many dozens of cases each month,” but that in his last couple of months on the job he‘d only presided over two or three with any substance.

He told the Washington Times that the Executive Office of Immigration Review is now, to all intents and purposes, owned by AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association. That's a bit like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms being a joint operation of Johnnie Walker, Philip Morris, and Smith & Wesson.

I am as far from being a fan of Mitch McConnell as it is possible to be without nursing homicidal thoughts, but I‘ll give credit where it‘s due: At least McConnell spared us from having Comrade Garland on the Supreme Court.

Talking of the Supreme Court, it’s been upsetting the Left recently. But on Thursday, June 30 there came out a SCOTUS ruling on immigration that turned our smiles into frowns.

The underlying issue here is asylum claims by foreigners crossing our borders. People from other countries find their way into ours; then, when discovered by our immigration authorities, they plead some kind of life-threatening persecution in their home nation. As our own correspondent A.W. Morgan pointed out here at, well north of ninety percent of these claims are bogus, but the immigration authorities have to investigate and pass judgment on them none the less.

That takes a lot of time. Federal law says that these so-called “asylum-seekers“ shall be detained until the process is complete, although they can be paroled and released into the interior of the U.S.A. on a case-by-case basis that was, when the law was written, intended to be very exceptional.

Since the relevant laws were passed back in the 1990s, though, the number of “asylum-seekers“ showing up at our southern border has soared into the hundreds of thousands, way more than DHS has detention facilities for.

Congress could appropriate funds to build more facilities; but that‘s just one of a great many things Congress could do to give us an orderly, sensible immigration system that benefits our citizens, and Congress doesn‘t want to do any of them. 

One of the parties in Congress wants a complete demographic transformation of the U.S.A.; the other is bought and paid for by business lobbies hungry for cheap labor.

So what to do with these floods of “asylum-seekers“? Up to the beginning of 2019 the answer was: parole them into the U.S.A. Then the Trump Administration implemented a program called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which said that “asylum-seekers“ could be returned into Mexico while their cases were adjudicated.

The Biden administration of course canceled that program. A Texas judge ruled that cancellation improper; an appeals court upheld his ruling; the Biden people protested those rulings; and we ended up in the Supreme Court, which just issued their ruling [PDF].

The ruling was that yes, the administration could cancel Trump's MPP program. So now, since Congress will of course not take any effective action, we are back to mass release of these bogus “asylum-seekers“ into our towns and cities.

This was a five-to-four ruling, or more accurately a five-and-a-half-to-three-and-a-half, since Amy Coney Barrett actually agreed with the majority but thought the Supremes should have left the case for lower courts to decide. The three full dissenters were Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch.

Scanning through the opinions—no, I didn‘t read ‘em all, I just read summaries in the big news outlets—the ruling doesn‘t seem to me to be patently insane, unlike the original Roe v. Wade. The majority makes a fair case on the legalities, which is all they are obliged to consider. 

From the perspective of our national interest, though, the result stinks. It leaves our mad, chaotic, nation-killing system of immigration a wee bit more mad, chaotic, and nation-killing than it was before.

The solution is, as it has always been, for the congresscritters to pass appropriate laws at peril of losing their seats if they don't, and for the Executive to enforce those laws at peril of impeachment if they fail to.

That‘s how our governmental system is supposed to work. Unfortunately, it has long since stopped working. The constitutional machinery is all rusted and jammed.

So we are left waiting hopefully on the decisions of a handful of unelected lawyers, chosen not for their wisdom or patriotism but for their acceptability to powerful political factions.

The Founders intended the judiciary to be the weakest of the three branches of our government.

How is it, then, that we are left hanging desperately on the Supreme Court‘s every word?

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

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