Complaints Shed Light on Court Dysfunction.

AuthorGoodman, James

A disturbing window into the world of immigration judges is provided by 767 complaints against judges on these courts released to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit filed.

"There are some judges--certainly not the majority--who are subject to repeated complaints," says Julie Murray, an attorney with Public Citizen, representing the Lawyers Association in this litigation. "I think that raises questions whether these are appropriate people to be in that position."

The documents cover complaints resolved between 2008 and 2013. Whether the names of the judges-redacted by the Justice Department--will be released is subject to an ongoing court battle. In November 2017, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, in the District of Columbia, ruled that the names of fourteen immigration judges--including some with the most egregious complaints--should be disclosed, but that has not happened because Cooper's decision is under appeal.

Immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson has posted the names of some of the immigration judges, along with complaints connected to them. He identified names, according to the website Techdirt, by using software that could see through redactions. The Justice Department disputes the accuracy of some of what Johnson has posted--but has provided no evidence of what is incorrect.

The thousands of pages of documents posted on the Lawyers Association's website tell of inappropriate behavior, such as one immigration judge saying to a legal assistant, in an apparent reference to her country of origin, "So when you grow up, you're going to be a suicide bomber?"

In another case, an immigration judge referred to an autistic child who had...

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