Immigration Judges hold some of the most important judicial positions in the country, but no one is perfect. Sadly, sometimes courts turn into an episode of Immigration Judges Gone Wild that none of us asked for. Immigration Judges make mistakes and these mistakes can hurt people in deportation proceedings. People can lose their cases and even their lives as a result. The truth is, some Judges cross the line and should be held accountable.
We’ll be talking about some of the many issues immigration judges related to misconduct, starting with judicial bias. Being a biased judge often leads to an unfair trial and takes away a person’s due process.
First, let’s think about Immigration Judge Earle Wilson, who served on the Atlanta Immigration Court. Judge Wilson was notorious for having a 98% denial rate for asylum cases, the third highest rate in the country.
Judge Wilson was also known for being cruel and unfair in asylum proceedings dealing with domestic and sexual violence. This judge had a habit of downplaying sexual assault, doubting credible testimony, and being insensitive during highly stressful deportation proceedings.
Second, another Immigration Judge, Judge Conroy out of the New York Immigration Court, suggested that a respondent that hesitates to tell their story of sexual harassment/assault was not credible. Imagine if we determined whether we believed victims of sexual harassment/assault based on whether they hesitated to recount their traumatic story?
Third, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals lit into an immigration judge for being unreasonable and inappropriate during an asylum proceeding for a gay Ghanian man. The Circuit Court slapped down the immigration judge for unreasonably suggesting that the Ghanian man just hide his sexual orientation and scolded the judge for asking inappropriate questions. The immigration judge even asked about the respondent’s sexual positions during intercourse, which the Circuit Court rightfully called out.
We’ll continue discussing more about immigration judges gone wild in future episodes, so stay tuned. Next time we’ll talk about incidents where immigration judges have been abusive and bullied lawyers and respondents alike.