Circuit Courts have noted a decline in the quality of immigration administrative adjudications because of undue pressure on Immigration Judges to promptly complete their schedules. Faulty legal reasoning, lack of judicial courtroom behavior and discrimination are among the objections of the Federal Court. As a result, new hearings have been granted because of failure to afford a full and fair hearing.
In courtroom proceedings, Immigration Judges must have an open attitude and exercise judicial restraint to assure the fair administration of justice. A Judge may not interfere in the examination or cross examination of witnesses or take over a hearing, so as to prevent lawyers from discharging their function of properly representing their clients. Attention to technicalities rather than substantial legal rights is not in accord with due process. Immigration Judges need to familiarize themselves with the facts of a case and then make a decision based on the facts and the law. Immigration Judges must state the reasons for their decisions, thereby to allow an alien a fair opportunity to appeal.
HEARING LOCATIONS AND ADJOURNMENTS
Respect for alien rights, despite the Courts’ motivation for a swift conclusion of cases, is necessary. A Judge may not arbitrarily deny a request for a change of location of a hearing when an alien has moved. The Court of Appeals has held that as Immigration Judge may not be aggressive or hostile, and may not make irrelevant or intemperate character evaluations or unfavorable comments during a hearing. The Court of Appeals has ordered cases to be turned over to different Judges to ensure a fair hearing when a Judge has shown that he has been overbearing or prejudiced in a case.
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