On May 19, Daniel J. Donnellon joined with several fellow Federal Bar Association chapter officers from across the country to participate in Capitol Hill Day (“CHD”). CHD is an annual event sponsored by the national Federal Bar Association to function in its crucial role as a neutral lobbying arm for the Federal Judiciary. Even though the Federal Judiciary is one-third of our branches of government, its entire annual budget accounts for only two-tenths of each penny of tax-payer dollars. The Constitution specifies that Congress shall be the steward of this independent judiciary, but members of the judiciary are ethically prohibited from lobbying for themselves. That’s where this essential mission of the Federal Bar Association, and the role of its leaders, comes into play.
The entire group of FBA delegates participating in CHD met with each member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as individual Senators and members of the House of Representatives. Dan met personally with his Congressman, Dr. Brad Wenstrup (R- OH 2nd District, pictured). Among the need for federal funding and other policy initiatives, Dan discussed whether Congress could introduce a bill to establish a new Article I, Immigration Court. This would be similar to the Article I Bankruptcy Court and would remove from the Department of Justice decisions on immigration applications. The current system, as operated by the Department of Justice, is costly and inefficient. Dr. Wenstrup agreed and relayed the story of a colleague he met while serving in Iraq, a fellow trauma surgeon, who applied to be a U.S. Immigrant after assisting our country in the Iraqi War. It took more than two years for his simple application to go through.
Currently, with the help of the FBA, the Government Accounting Office is conducting a study to determine the cost effectiveness of creating this new Article I Immigration Court to replace the DOJ process. The FBA expects that study to be released this fall, and to show favorable results on cost savings. With this new connection Dan established with Congressman Wenstrup, and Dr. Wenstrup’s personal experience with immigration delays, Dan expects to stay in touch and potentially have Dr. Wenstrup serve as a co-sponsor of the House version of such a bill.