ILNews

Circuit slams immigration appeals board

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued an immigration ruling today reiterating a message that the justice department isn't giving asylum cases enough review.

The opinion is one of an already long list of examples where Circuit Courts slam the nation's immigration court system, a mostly administrative process flowing through the U.S. Department of Justice. The 7th Circuit has been especially critical of the system.

In its three-page decision in Hanna Youssef Mekhael v. Michael B. Mukasey, No. 06-4285, opinion author Judge Richard Posner granted review and vacated a ruling from the administrative Board of Immigration.

The case involves a Lebanese citizen who sought asylum and relief here in July 2005 but was denied. That petitioner later asked for the case to be reopened because of new conditions in the home country, but the board denied that request because evidence wasn't persuasive, detailed "ongoing problems in Lebanon," and was available before the initial hearing.

"The Board's reasoning was remarkable, since the petitioner's evidence concerned dramatic, portentous events that had occurred after the administrative record was closed, and so could not have been discovered before the July 2005 hearing," Judge Posner wrote. "... The only ground of our decision is in the Board's failure to articulate a reasoned response to the motion. We understand the Board's staggering workload. But the Department of Justice cannot be permitted to defeat judicial review by refusing to staff the Immigration Court and Board of Immigration Appeals with enough judicial officers to provide reasoned decisions."
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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