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Immigration Law

Sexual Harassment by IJs, BIA Members: SF Chronicle Investigation

Tal Kopan, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 22, 2021

"One judge made a joke about genitalia during a court proceeding and was later promoted. Another has been banned for more than seven years from the government building where he worked after management found he harassed female staff, but is still deciding cases.  A third, a supervisor based mostly in San Francisco, commented with colleagues about the attractiveness of female job candidates, an internal investigation concluded. He was demoted and transferred to a courtroom in Sacramento.  The three men, all immigration judges still employed by the Justice Department, work for a court system designed to give immigrants a fair chance to stay in the U.S. Every day, they hear some of the most harrowing stories of trauma in the world, many from women who were victims of gender-based violence and who fear that their lives are at risk if they are deported to their native countries.  These judges’ behavior toward women is not an isolated phenomenon in the immigration courts system. A Chronicle investigation revealed numerous similar instances of harassment or misconduct in the courts, and found a system that allows sexually inappropriate behavior to flourish."