Statement of Former Immigration Judges and BIA Members Opposing IJ Quotas

As former Immigration Judges and BIA Members, we join our former colleagues in the NAIJ in decrying the imposition of much-criticized performance quotas on sitting Immigration Judges.  Experience has demonstrated that it is futile to protest to the present Attorney General and his appointed EOIR Director, who have repeatedly demonstrated a callous disregard for due process, fundamental fairness, or judicial independence in the immigration courts.  Jeff Sessions has repeatedly demonstrated his personal bias against both immigrants and judges.  With the help of his EOIR Director, James McHenry, Sessions has taken a series of steps designed to strip the judges that he controls of all of the independence and powers that distinguish them as judges, and thus turn them into assembly-line workers.  And because of Sessions’s disdain for immigrants, in his mind, those assembly lines should be issuing deportation orders, at faster speeds and in larger numbers.  Never before, in our experience, has EOIR so directly and strongly undermined the decisional independence of Immigration Judges.

We therefore appeal at present to the leadership of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge.  Holding the title of “judges” themselves, the Chief, Deputy Chief, and Assistant Chief Immigration Judges are entrusted to protect the integrity of the Immigration Courts and the rights and independence of the Immigration Judges they oversee.  At present, the OCIJ leadership has completely abandoned these responsibilities, and have instead become complicit with those seeking to undermine the system they are charged to protect.  Now more than ever, our country needs leadership within EOIR with the courage and integrity to stand up for what is right.  Courage, integrity, and impartiality from political considerations are hallmarks of good judges.  It is time for EOIR’s leadership to live up to the trust placed in them and begin to display such characteristics.

Likewise, individual judges must continue to be guided by the need to do what is just and right, and not what is expedient.  We have faith that if forced to choose between meeting randomly imposed quotas and doing justice, those on the bench will choose the latter.

We further call for Congress to take the long overdue but critically needed action of making immigration judges part of an independent, Article I court that is outside of the Executive Branch and free from abuse or pressure by politically-appointed officials.

Lastly, we call on the public to observe and insist on accountability for those who abuse the public trust placed in them to dispense justice to those most vulnerable members of our society.

Hon. Steven Abrams

Hon. Sarah M. Burr

Hon. Jeffrey S. Chase

Hon. George T. Chew

Hon. Bruce J. Einhorn

Hon. Cecelia Espenoza

Hon. Noel Ferris

Hon. John F. Gossart, Jr.

Hon. Rebecca Jamil

Hon. William P. Joyce

Hon. Edward Kandler

Hon. Carol A. King

Hon. Elizabeth A. Lamb

Hon.  Margaret McManus

Hon. Charles Pazar

Hon. George Proctor

Hon. Lory D. Rosenberg

Hon. Susan Roy

Hon. Paul W. Schmidt

Hon. Polly A. Webber

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