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Immigration Law

17 New Immigration Judges...And Commentary

EOIR, May 6, 2021

"The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) today announced 17 new Immigration Judges (IJs), including one Assistant Chief Immigration Judge (ACIJ) and six Unit Chief Immigration Judges (UCIJs). ACIJs are responsible for overseeing the operations of their assigned immigration courts. In addition to their management responsibilities, they will hear cases. UCIJs serve as IJs in formal judicial hearings conducted via video teleconference and supervise the staff assigned to their virtual courtroom. IJs preside in formal judicial hearings and make decisions that are final unless formally appealed. After a thorough application process, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed Megan B. Herndon, Wade T. Napier, Tamaira Rivera, David H. Robertson, Elizabeth Crites, Bryan E. DePowell, Nicholle M. Hempel, Kathy J. Lemke, Martinque M. Parker, David M. Paxton, Bryan D. Watson, Kenya L. Wells, and Mark R. Whitworth to their new positions; then-Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson appointed Adam Perl to his new position; then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen appointed William H. McDermott to his new position; and then-Attorney General William P. Barr appointed Elliot M. Kaplan and Jeb T. Terrien to their new positions. Biographical information follows..."

[Note that but for pressure from the media yesterday, EOIR probably would have kept these appointments under wraps forever.  Also note: Prof. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández states: "Of 14 IJs appointed under Biden (Acting AG Wilkinson or AG Garland), 7 have worked for ICE, 5 have been prosecutors of other types, 2 have worked for ICE and been prosecutors, and 2 have worked as immigration defense attorneys (though these two have also worked for ICE). Based off the first 14 immigration judges appointed under Biden, it looks like the administration wants former prosecutors and ICE attorneys making those decisions. Advocates have a lot of work ahead of them if they’re going to make a dent in how immigration law is interpreted. Given that Senate politics aren’t relevant to immigration judge appointments, the roster of appointments tells us a lot about who the Biden administration wants making key decisions about who gets to live and work in the United States."]