Nationality Act, including, but not limited to, fair and timely processing of visa applications and naturalization petitions.132Not surprising in light of such criticism, reviewing courts frequently rejected INS policiesand decisions, which suggested deeper structural problems within the agency. Although now more than 15 years old, one influential empirical study of judicial review of immigration 129See supratext accompanying note 58.130SeeJohnson, supranote 50, at ____.131See Meriam N. Alrashid, The “Comprehensive” Immigration Reform: Only as Good as the Bureaucracy Itis Built Upon, 13 NEXUS J. OP. 29 (2007/08).132See generallyJOHNSON, supranote14, at 79-82 (summarizing historical reputation of the INS); ALFREDOMIRANDÉ, GRINGOJUSTICE107-45 (1987) (analyzing history of Border Patrol and its abuses).27
decisions concluded that successful impact lawsuits – class actions designed to remedy perceivedpatterns and practices of violations of the law, “coupled with Congress’ failure to overturn their results, provide a clear signal that some important aspects of the INS’ administrative performance are deeply and systematically flawed.”133To begin with, the nation needs to take steps to improve the quality of the decision-making of the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals, which have long been harshly criticized from observers that span the political spectrum.134Resources are much-neededin order to increase the number of adjudicators so that each immigration judge will have the timenecessary to decide removal cases in a reasoned and responsible manner; in addition, steps must be taken to ensure that merit-based schemes, rather than adherence to political litmus tests, are fastidiously followed in the selection of immigration adjudicators.135Moreover, to encourage professionalism in the immigration adjudication machinery, we need to reconsider many of the “court stripping” provisions that were added in 1996 and subsequent legislation limiting the judicial review of immigration decisions.136Importantly, the nation needs checks on bureaucratic tyranny as well as better-staffed and adequately funded immigration agencies.The United States currently may well be moving in exactly the wrong direction. An unacceptable and inexplicable blunder – the renewal of the visas of several of the noncitizens involved and killed in the events of September 11, 2001 -- led to a major restructuring of the immigration agencies.137Since the spring of 2003, the newly-created Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been primarily charged with enforcing the U.S. immigration laws.138Some commentators contend that the treatment of immigrants is now worse than it was before with the DHS mission of ensuring “homeland security” and fighting terrorism dominating other legitimate immigration objectives.