EOIR Shows Lack of Balance and Diversity of Experience with New BIA Appointees

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is very concerned by yesterday's announcement from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the immigration administrative court system, of five new appointees to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). "All the new members, except for one, have solely government experience and none has experience in private immigration practice. Most of these people have served only on the 'prosecution' side during their time in government," said Charles H. Kuck, President of the AILA.

The Attorney General had an opportunity to correct the imbalance that resulted from the purely politicized hirings made under the former Attorney General. Several BIA members added in the previous round of hirings had no immigration experience at all but passed a political loyalty litmus test.

"The EOIR failed to take this opportunity to restore at least a semblance of balance to the BIA, Kuck added, "and to recruit experienced immigration practitioners from the private sector as well as those with government background. AILA is deeply disappointed at this continued one-sided recruitment pattern."

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is part of EOIR, primarily reviews and decides appeals of immigration judge decisions. The BIA is the highest administrative tribunal for interpreting and applying U.S. immigration law. The BIA's interpretations of immigration law, as set forth in its precedent decisions, are binding on immigration judges and the parties in removal (deportation) proceedings nationwide. EOIR's immigration judges determine whether a person charged with violating immigration law should be ordered removed from the United States. Currently, the BIA has 13 members.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 08121764.