US Attorney General Expresses Concerns regarding the Treatment of Aliens by Immigration Judges and the BIA
By James E. Root

On January 9, 2006, U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issued a memorandum directing the development of a comprehensive review of the Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (B.I.A.). The memorandum states: “I have watched with concern the reports of immigration judges who fail to treat aliens appearing before them with appropriate respect and consideration and who fail to produce the quality of work that I expect from employees of the Department of Justice. While I remain convinced that most immigration judges ably and professionally discharge their difficult duties, I believe there are some whose conduct can aptly be described as intemperate or even abusive and whose work must improve.”
Many Circuit Courts have expressed concern over the frequency of below-standard decisions of Immigration Judges. For instance, in Recinos de Leon v. Gonzales, 400 F.3d 1185, 1193-94 (9th Cir. 2005), the Ninth Circuit found, “By streamlining the case, the BIA offered no coherent alternative explanation for the decision not dependant on the IJ’s deficient finding of facts. Instead, the B.I.A. rested on the IJ’s indecipherable explanation.”
The commitment of Attorney General Gonzales to review the process of Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals is commendable. In his strong memorandum regarding his expectations of Immigration Judges he states, “I urge you always to bear in mind the significance of your cases and the lives they affect. To the aliens who stand before you, you are the face of American justice. Not all will be entitled to the relief they seek. But I insist that each be treated with courtesy and respect. Anything less would demean the office that you hold and the Department in which you serve.”
(Mr. James E. Root practices exclusively Immigration law. He has offices in the Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For a free initial consultation please contact 1(888) ROOT-LAW or visit


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.