U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new limits on the ability of immigration judges to terminate deportation cases on Wednesday, the latest in a series of decisions to facilitate the removal of immigrants in the country illegally.
Unlike the federal judiciary system, U.S. immigration courts fall under the Department of Justice and the attorney general can rewrite opinions issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Sessions, a Republican former U.S. senator appointed by President Donald Trump, has been unusually active in this practice compared to his predecessors.
In his most recent decision, Sessions said judges can only terminate or dismiss cases in “specific and circumscribed” circumstances. Judges “have no inherent authority to terminate removal proceedings even though a particular case may pose sympathetic circumstances,” he said.