The Wacky World of Immigration Court: There Is Nothing Else Like It

One of the many reasons that practicing immigration law is so different from other types of law is that we work in the immigration courts, which are administrative courts established under the U.S. Department of Justice.  As you can see in this article, the immigration courts operate quite differently from the majority of courts operating under the auspices of the judicial branch of our government.  Immigration courts are different; they are run by the Department of Justice, an executive branch department.  Immigration judges are not Article III judges under the U.S. Constitution, but rather employees of the Department of Justice.  Immigration judges render decisions based on U.S. law, most often relating to persons in removal proceedings.  They have broad discretion.  The discretion afforded immigration judges is a two-edged sword.  We have personally observed acts of great kindness on the part of certain immigration judges, and eye rollers from others.  Decisions rendered by immigration judges are often appealed (after exhausting other DoJ administrative remedies) to the federal courts, and that is where the eye roller decisions are often overturned.  But as is always the case in the law, getting that far takes money and a lot of patience.

Certainly, the conversion of every public building into an armed camp, with the attendant distrust of the people supposedly being served, encourages the courts to take the next step and consider that they can conduct their activities in the manner described in the article.  Applying sunshine to any public official always has an interesting and beneficial effect.

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