Taxpayers funding all sides of migration litigation

“This court ruling could have big implications for public-service loan forgiveness” (Washington Post, February 25, 2019):

Public servants denied student loan forgiveness by the U.S. Education Department may have a new avenue for appeal following a recent court decision.

A federal district judge ruled Friday in favor of three borrowers who accused the Education Department of changing an employment requirement for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program that cancels federal student debt after 10 years of on-time payments for people who take public-sector jobs.

What’s the “service to the public” being rendered?

Voigt has worked for the American Immigration Lawyers Association for more than seven years, educating the public about issues facing immigrants in the United States.

The association’s About page says “AILA member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, …”

Thus, taxpayers are effectively funding all sides of migration litigation. The lawyers representing the asylum-seekers get employees whose $200,000 of law school debt is covered by taxpayers. The judges and lawyers on the government side are also funded by taxpayers, of course.


  • “Divorce Litigation”: From a more practical standpoint, divorce litigation is more intense than other kinds of civil litigation because, depending on the state, one person can be designated by the judge to pay the legal fees for both sides. “Once my plaintiff gets a hint from the judge that she’ll be getting a fee award,” said one attorney, “she no longer has any motivation to settle. The lawsuit and trial are going to be free for her and anything she gets in the final judgment is gravy.” Another lawyer said “Most civil lawsuits end when each party has spent about as much on legal fees as the amount in dispute. By that point they’ve both learned their lesson that litigation generally makes sense for lawyers, not for litigants. In divorces, however, since all of the fees are being paid by the defendant there is no reason for the case to end until he runs through his savings, what he can borrow from friends and family, and what he can borrow from the bank.”

2 thoughts on “Taxpayers funding all sides of migration litigation

  1. A small price to pay to have a complex immigration system that keeps out these drains on society, or perhaps it would be less expensive to have less restrictions and simpler immigration laws?

    • It is unclear why it should be a litigation process at all. Any witnesses to the alleged gang violence, domestic violence, or political violence that are the basis of an asylum claim are back in the immigrant’s home country. So the traditional trial lawyer skill of cross-examining witnesses is irrelevant. Judges and juries both have abysmal track records of sorting out truth-tellers from liars (juries are better, according to the litigators with whom I’ve worked), especially when the only possible testimony is from the person seeking a financial benefit (a lifetime of means-tested welfare benefits (housing, food, health insurance, smartphone, etc.), and a lifetime of means-tested welfare entitlements for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren).

      What value is being added by immigration lawyers and immigration judges compared to simply approving the same percentage of asylum claims via random lottery?

      90 percent pass the “credible fear” test (see ). And advocates for more immigration say that the 10 percent who fail this test are being unjustly deported. So we could just eliminate that test since it doesn’t seem to screen out a significant number of people and, at least allegedly, it screens out the wrong people.

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