On June 21, the Round Table of Former Immigration Judges was presented with the 2019 Advocacy Award of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) at its Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Members have left the group for various reasons, including to return to the bench in senior status, but the following is a list of those former immigration judges and BIA Board members who have signed on to amicus briefs, letters, or statements since our inception in June 2017:
Patricia L. Buchanan
Jeffrey S. Chase
George T. Chew
Joan V. Churchill
Bruce J. Einhorn
Cecelia M. Espenoza
John F. Gossart, Jr.
William P. Joyce
Elizabeth A. Lamb
Donn L. Livingston
Lory D. Rosenberg
Paul W. Schmidt
William Van Wyke
Gustavo D. Villageliu
Polly A. Webber
Robert D. Weisel
We thank all who nominated and selected us for the award.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude and good fortune to the tireless efforts of those law firms and law school clinics that have assisted us in drafting brief after brief. Our work would simply not be possible without their assistance.
The law firms are:
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
White & Case LLP
WIlmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP
And the law school clinics are:
Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC)
NYU Law School - Washington Square Legal Services, Inc. Immigrant Rights Clinic
Boston College Law School, Ninth Circuit Appellate Program
Texas A&M School of Law, Immigrant Rights Clinic
The Round Table of Former Immigration Judges was formed in June 2017 when seven former Immigration Judges and BIA Members united for an amicus brief in Matter of Negusie. In the two years since, the group has grown to more than 30 members, dedicated to the principle of due process for all. Its members have served as amici in cases before six different circuit courts, the Attorney General, and the BIA. The group has made its voice heard repeatedly in support of the rights of victims of domestic violence to asylum protection, and has also lent its arguments to the issue of children's need for counsel in removal proceedings, the impact of remote detention in limiting access to counsel, and the case against indefinite detention of immigrants. The Round Table of Former Immigration Judges has submitted written testimony to Congress and has released numerous press statements and a letter to EOIR’s director. Its individual members regularly participate in teaching, training, and press events.
Accepting the award at the ceremony in Orlando on behalf of our group were Cecelia Espenoza, Carol King, Lory Rosenberg, Susan Roy, Polly Webber, and myself.
As I stated in my acceptance remarks on behalf of our group, “we must all speak for those who have no voice, and must serve as the conscience in a time of amoral government actions. Those whom we advocate for had the courage and strength to not only escape tragedy and make their way to this country, but once here, to continue to fight for their legal rights against a government that makes no secret of its disdain for their existence. We owe it to them to use our knowledge and skills to aid them in this fight.”
Our congratulations to the other award winners.