Monday, November 22, 2010
Immigration Judge in Bed with DHS: Not Just a Metaphor
I received an email today from an immigration law practitioner in Colorado pointing out yet another strange understanding of justice on the part of the Executive Office of Immigration Review and the Department of Justice: hire an immigration judge who is married to a high-ranking Department of Homeland Security prosecutor in the ICE Denver field office, the same one where the newly appointed adjudicator was an assistant chief counsel.
Hard to understand how justice can be blind when the new Denver immigration judge Eileen Trujillo is not only a former DHS prosecutor but also married to the ICE Deputy Chief Counsel in Denver, Donald O'Hare.
Here's the message from the practitioner:
"Here in Denver, a new immigration judge has been hired and will begin taking cases in December 2010, Judge Eileen Trujillo. Although she may be an excellent judge, there is a major concern about her on the bench that EOIR seems to fully be ignoring. That is: She is married to the #2 in charge for the Department of Homeland Security, government counsel.
Yes, the incoming judge is sleeping with the boss of the government prosecutors and that is apparently not a conflict for EOIR. I don't know how, since it is one of the most transparent and visible conflicts in all of the law. Apparently all fears should be allayed by the verbal assertion by the new judge and her husband that they will not work on cases that are in front of each other. Huh? Impossible! He reviews ALL cases as a supervisor and her conflict can reach the whole bench here in Colorado.
The story remains to unfold--someone from EOIR's Chief Judge office is coming to speak to AILA here soon, but like I said, cases are already scheduled before the new judge. For all intents and purposes, immigration lawyers may be forced to one-by-one request the judge to recuse herself from their cases and face the wrath (by all sides) for their requests."