Responding to complaints of “abusive conduct”, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sent a memo to immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals, expressing his concern about reports of immigration judges who failed to treat aliens appearing before them with “appropriate respect and consideration”. (The Attorney General is the head of the Justice Department, which oversees immigration judges and the BIA in connection with deportation/removal cases)
Attorney General Gonzales was also concerned over the “quality of work" of immigration judges, in the way that they handle and decide cases. While he believes that most immigration judges are competent and professional, there are still some immigration judges, "whose conduct can aptly be described as intemperate [excessive in behavior] or even abusive and whose work must improve."
The Attorney General has decided to undertake a comprehensive review of immigration courts, which would include the quality of immigration judges’ work, as well as the manner in which it is performed. The study (or review) will encompass both the Immigration Courts and the BIA. Once the study is completed, he will decide what changes or reforms should be made to improve the quality of judges and their work.
The Attorney General reminded immigration judges that for aliens who appear before them, the immigration judges, "are the face of American justice". Although some aliens may not be entitled to the relief they are seeking, and may even be ordered deported or removed, the Attorney General insists that each and every alien be treated with courtesy and respect. "Anything less would demean the office that you hold and the Department in which you serve."
For many aliens, deportation/removal proceedings could possibly be their "last stop", or end of their "American dream". While going to court is terrifying in and of itself, it is worse if the immigration judge is mean, rude, abusive, or disrespectful.
While this memo does not solve all problems, nor does it grant relief for people in deportation/removal, at least it is a very positive sign, that the Attorney General is sensitive to the harsh consequences of deportation/removal, and concerned on how immigration courts are handling their cases, and insisting that they be courteous and respectful. Perhaps now, the judges will be less harsh in their decisions, which could provide at least some hope to aliens.
If you are facing deportationremoval, the stakes are so high. It is not something that you should handle on your own. You should seek the advice of a reputable attorney, who can evaluate your situation, see if there is possible hope or chances for you to remain in America, set forth the various forms of relief that may be available, and represent you in court, and properly present your case. Remember, if you went to an immigration consultant, they are not able to represent you in court.
That is why it is so important that you seek the advice of a reputable attorney, who can advise you on legitimate ways to legalize your status, so that you will not resort to schemes and scams.
Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 25 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has always excelled in school: Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California.
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(This is for informational purposes only, and reflects the firm's opinions and views on general issues. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of a particular case. All immigration services are provided by an active member of the State Bar of California and/or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. No prediction, warranty or guarantee can be made about the results of any case. Should you need or want legal advice, you should consult with and retain counsel of your own choice.)