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DOJ Seeks Termination of Immigration Judges Union, Further Undermining Court Independence

Last Friday, DOJ petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) in an effort to strip immigration judges of their right to be represented by a union. AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson called the petition “an effort to suppress the voices of immigration judges, who have denounced DOJ efforts to strip their authority.” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) criticized the administration’s move to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges, announcing plans to hold hearings to “develop a foundation for legislation to create an independent immigration court.”

Attorney General Sessions continues to take away due process of Immigrants

Matter of L‑A‑B‑R‑, which outlined when immigration judges (IJs) may grant continuances; Matter of Castro‑Tum, which limited IJs authority toadministratively close a case; and Matter of A‑B‑, which narrowed the criteria for demonstrating membership in a particular social group.

Sessions is trying to turn the Immigration Courts into puppet institutions that just deport people without regard to real representation.

EOIR Hotline Once Again Includes Names of Immigration Judges

EOIR is once again including the names of immigration judges on its automated case status hotline, reversing course following complaints over the names being removed from the system in March 2018.

Senate and House Democrats Request Investigation of Illegal Hiring Allegations at DOJ

Top Senate and House Democrats sent a letter to DOJ’s Inspector General, requesting an investigation into allegations that DOJ has targeted candidates and delayed job offers for immigration judge (IJ) and BIA positions based on the candidates’ perceived political or ideological views. 

Immigration Judges hard at work

A recent Transactional Records Access Clearing House (TRAC) report found that Immigration Judges completed 198,105 cases during FY2015, up 7.3% from 184,597 in FY2014. The data indicated that this marks the first time in six years that immigration court case closings have risen rather than fallen, halting a downward slide that had been observed since FY2009.

Get Representation in Asylum Hearings as Court just ruled against Applicant

The Ninth Circuit held that the REAL ID Act permits the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and Immigration Judges (IJs) to base their adverse credibility determinations exclusively on background evidence in the record, upon consideration of the totality of the circumstances and all relevant factors. As such, the court upheld the BIA’s denial of the petitioner’s asylum claims, finding that the BIA and the IJ’s adverse credibility determination, which was based solely on a report from Amnesty International, was supported by substantial evidence.

Be careful with your statements in different proceedings

In a precedent decision issued, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) held that, in making an adverse credibility determination, an Immigration Judge (IJ) can consider significant similarities between statements submitted by different applicants in different proceedings, as long as the IJ gives the applicant meaningful notice of the similarities and a reasonable opportunity to explain them prior to making a credibility determination that is based on the totality of the circumstances.

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