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Immigration Law

EOIR Director McHenry Steps Aside

Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News, Jan. 27, 2021

"James McHenry, the director of the nation’s immigration court system, will step down from his leadership role at the end of this week, according to a memo and email sent to Department of Justice staffers on Wednesday. During his tenure, the Trump administration executed a monumental overhaul of the way immigration judges worked: placing quotas on the number of cases they should complete every year, ending their ability to indefinitely suspend certain cases, restricting when asylum can be granted, and pouring thousands of previously closed cases back into court dockets. In the meantime, the case backlog increased, and wait times continued to skyrocket. ... The quotas in particular have made judges feel as if they were cogs in a deportation machine, as opposed to neutral arbiters given time to thoughtfully analyze the merits of each case. McHenry, who was a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney before rising in the ranks at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), will resign his role effective on Friday, according to an email he sent to employees. ... [Judge] Jean King, a career official at the agency, will take over beginning on Monday."