June 3rd, 2009
09:35 PM ET
5 years ago

Holder overturns Bush immigration order

Attorney General Eric Holder overturned on Wednesday an order by the Bush administration that made it more difficult for defendants to appeal the rulings on their immigration cases.
Attorney General Eric Holder overturned on Wednesday an order by the Bush administration that made it more difficult for defendants to appeal the rulings on their immigration cases.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder overturned on Wednesday an order by the Bush administration that made it more difficult for defendants to appeal the rulings on their immigration cases, Holder's office announced.

The order, enacted by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey 13 days prior to the end of then-President George W. Bush's term, limited immigrants' efforts to reopen their cases by claiming they had ineffective assistance of counsel.

The order and its abolishment focus on whether non-citizens have a constitutional right to effective counsel in deportation cases.

"At the end of the day it's important to remember that aliens aren't granted the same constitutional protections as are granted a U.S. citizen," said Jon Feere, legal policy analyst at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies.

"Basically we're talking about a difference in due process standards and that's not really up for debate."

The elimination of the order could place a heavier burden on the immigration court system because appeal processes would take more time, Feere said. He added that the order did not inhibit immigrants from appealing on the basis of ineffective counsel; it set a higher standard of proof.

But Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's immigrants' rights project, argued that whether defendants met those "exceedingly high standards" was at the discretion of the Justice Department. Repealing the order means immigrants have the right to have their cases
reopened when they argue they were unjustly served by their attorney, said Gelernt.

"This is going to be potentially an enormous benefit to countless immigrants and their families that have been taken advantage of by incompetent attorneys," said Gelernt, who helped write a legal brief to Holder asking him to overturn the order.

Gelernt said that immigrants do have a constitutional right to effective counsel, but its not certain what stance Holder and the attorneys at the Justice Department will take from here on. Although Holder vacated the order, he did not replace it.

Holder has handed that task to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, and wants the office to ask for the public's input, according to a news release.


Filed under: Eric Holder
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Samuel

    This is the only country in the world who prosecutes its own citizens/taxpayers and rewards illegal aliens with welfare and healthcare.

    June 3, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. American Idol hater

    Why don't journalists use the term "illegal immigration" anymore? Or are they trying to murky the water between immigration and illegal immigration?

    June 3, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. Adolf

    Open up the pearly gates and let everyone in this country. Give them free medical, free education, etc. This will allow the already strained infrastructure to completely fail. If you don't believe it check out pathetic California. Bailem all out, save the world, we just wanna be free. Disgusted!

    June 3, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. Jenn, Philadelphia

    I wonder if this means that President Obama's illegal immigrant aunt gets another chance (or 3rd actually) to stay and I wonder if this order of Eric Holder's is just a coincidence?

    June 3, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. fools, fooled by obama

    another socialist nail in the coffin of this once great Nation.

    June 3, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  6. New Yorker

    Yeah, whatever is bad for this country is good for the ACLU and Obama.

    June 3, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  7. Donnie

    The question all Americans are waiting for an answer... can we overturn ALL of Bush's orders?!???

    June 3, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. Olive

    This "legal policy analyst at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies", Jon Feere perhaps should be replaced, and then he could hang-out with all the other Bush Administration LEGAL ANALYSTS who advised BUSH/CHENEY on waterboarding!

    Perhaps Mr FEAR would recommend waterboarding of immigrants in order to get "PROOF" from them that they had been "taken advantage of by incompetent attorneys" in order to appeal!

    Who would want to "place a heavier burden the immigration court system because appeal processes would take more time" ?

    Obviously, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION!

    June 3, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  9. owl

    Surely you mean abolition, not abolishment.

    June 3, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  10. Randall in Torrance - Desert Storm Veteran - Welcome to the end of the era of dumb ass Republicans and Stoopid Retards like Cheney and Newt in power

    Not sure how this will turn out. However, we can all thank God that something Bush wanted is now not wanted and is effectively flushed down the toilet. Everything Bush did was for the rich and far right wing of the Americans Against the Middle-Class and U.S. Constitution Party. We should all get on our knees and thank God that George Bush is out of office. No other President has done more damage to America than Gee Dubya Butch. Go Obama and Biden.!

    June 4, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. Good

    Holder's right. This way, it secures immigrants from a simple fiat by the Justice department that would have them deported. It ensures that justice will be served to immigrants and immigrant families.

    And it's ridiculous to assume that just because someone is not from the United States that the person does not have some degree of legal protection/some rights. Inter-state disputes can still involve our justice system, so if people involved in those disputes can be recognized by the US legal system, then why can't immigrants have a degree of legal protection?

    June 4, 2009 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  12. Alex

    Sounds like a good move... Now how about a special prosecutor for our little "torture problem", Mr. H??

    June 4, 2009 01:25 am at 1:25 am |