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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Recent news has been filled with reports of the Trump administration’s hard line on immigration, including news that a DACA deal is “dead” and that the National Guard will be sent to the border. Meanwhile, the administration is also taking quieter steps to reshape our immigration courts and upend due process rights for immigrants.

On March 30, the director of the immigration courts, James McHenry, sent a memorandum to all immigration judges requiring them to meet annual case completion quotas; failure to do so will affect their annual performance reviews. Under the guidelines—mandating that each judge complete 700 cases annually—each judge would have to hear testimony and render decisions in almost three cases per day, five days per week, 52 weeks per year. Even before these quotas were announced, the former president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, Dana Leigh Marks, had criticized the inadequate protections in immigration court, calling them “death penalty cases heard in traffic court settings.”

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