Federal court in Chicago will see biggest impact in deportation appeals
Heather Somerville, of Medill Reports, has written that, according to Gerald Neuman, a Harvard University expert, Chicago can expect the largest increase of deportation appeals in the country due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. “This is the area of the country that, as the result of this decision, there will be more opportunities for judicial review,” Neuman said.
The Supreme Court ruled that immigrants ordered to leave the country have the right to appeal their cases in the federal courts. Previously, immigrants could only appeal deportation orders with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a group that “often rubber stamps immigration court decisions,” according to Tara Tidwell Cullen of the National Immigrant Justice Center. The Court’s decision allows immigrants to have their cases reviewed by the federal courts, where judges can order the immigration court to reopen the case, if appropriate.
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Chicago, has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Circuit historically has taken a hands-off approach to immigration cases, which in turn will lead to the increase in appeals. Chicago’s federal court can expect to see a substantial increase in immigration cases, Neuman said.
The Chicago Immigration Court is one of the busiest in the country. According to data of the Department of Justice, only four other immigration courts in the country saw more cases in 2008.
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Immigration judge misconduct gives asylee another day in court
Andrew Becker, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, has written that a Justice Department investigation of an immigration judge's misconduct in Florida will give a Bahamian asylum seeker another day in court.
The National Law Journal reports that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility found that Bruce Solow, an immigration judge in Miami, "engaged in professional misconduct when he acted in reckless disregard of his obligation to be fair and impartial."
In a 2005 asylum hearing Solow mocked Roscoe Campbell, who allegedly fled his home country of the Bahamas, after reporting to the US DEA about corrupt officials involved in drug trafficking. Solow later ordered Campbell and his family deported.
There isn't a lot known about the greater issue of judicial misconduct and how the court leadership – and the Justice Department - handles complaints. The NLJ writes:
The lack of transparency irritates attorneys and judges alike. The American Immigration Council's Wettstein and other immigration lawyers said complaints against immigration judges to the Executive Office seem to go into a "black hole," and, they added, getting notice of findings made by OPR also seems rare.
Immigration attorneys have sometimes been reluctant to file complaints against certain judges because they may have to argue before the judge again. The NLJ has shown that the Justice Department's process for investigating complaints against immigration judges is "neither swift nor transparent and because of that, it can be unfair -- to aliens, attorneys and immigration judges."
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