Immigration judges' union wants independent court

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The top two leaders of the union representing federal immigration judges say the court system that decides the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants facing deportation needs to be separate from the Justice Department.

Judges Dana Leigh Marks and Denise Noonan Slavin (SLAY-vin) say the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the agency that oversees the court system, is underfunded and often a low priority in the Justice Department's budget.

Marks and Slavin are the president and executive vice president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. They spoke at a news conference at the National Press Club Wednesday morning.

The judges say the transition could be costly up front, but an independent court system would ultimately operate more efficiently.

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