Immigration Judge (United States)

An immigration judge, formerly known as a special inquiry officer,[1] is an employee of the United States Department of Justice who confers U.S. citizenship or nationality upon lawful permanent residents who are statutorily entitled to such benefits.[2] An immigration judge also decides cases of aliens in various types of removal proceedings.[3][4] During the proceedings, an immigration judge may grant any type of immigration relief or benefit to an alien, including to his or her family members.

An immigration judge is appointed by (and works under the direction of) the U.S. Attorney General.[5][6][7] In other words, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), immigration judges act as representatives of the Attorney General and can only act according to authority delegated by the Attorney General (such as under the regulations) or by the INA.[8] There are approximately 465 immigration judges located across the United States.[9] An immigration judge can either be a citizen or a national of the United States.[10][11]

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  1. ^ 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(47)(A)
  2. ^ 8 U.S.C. § 1421 ("Naturalization authority"); 8 U.S.C. § 1447(a) ("Request for hearing before immigration officer."); 8 U.S.C. § 1101(18) ("The term 'immigration officer' means any employee or class of employees of ... the United States designated by the Attorney General, individually or by regulation, to perform the functions of an immigration officer specified by this chapter or any section of this title.").
  3. ^ 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(1)(A) ("At the conclusion of the proceeding the immigration judge shall decide whether an alien is removable from the United States."); see also Matter of Falodun, 27 I&N Dec. 52 (BIA 2017).
  4. ^ 8 C.F.R. 1003.14 ("Jurisdiction and commencement of proceedings").
  5. ^ 8 C.F.R. 1001.1(l) (defining "immigration judge").
  6. ^ "Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks to the Largest Class of Immigration Judges in History for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)". U.S. Dept. of Justice. September 10, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Kopan, Tal (September 10, 2018). "Sessions criticizes immigrants' attorneys before immigration judges". CNN. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 462 (A.G. 2018).
  9. ^ "Executive Office for Immigration Review to Swear in 28 Immigration Judges, Bringing Judge Corps to Highest Level in History". www.justice.gov. 2019-12-20. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  10. ^ "Immigration Judge". EOIR. Retrieved September 24, 2018. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
  11. ^ 8 U.S.C. § 1101(22) ("The term 'national of the United States' means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States." (emphasis added); Black's Law Dictionary at p.87 (9th ed., 2009) (defining the term "permanent allegiance" as "[t]he lasting allegiance owed to a state by its citizens or [permanent resident]s.") (emphasis added).

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