Attorney General Eric Holder appointed twenty-four new Immigration Judges in October to Immigration Courts across the country. Most of the newly appointed judges have strong professional ties to DHS. Three judges, however, appear to be longtime advocates for immigrants.
Most of the new judges have worked for DHS. Thirteen of the judges have worked as prosecuting attorney for DHS.
The three who appear to strong pro-immigrant credentials are Maureen O’Sullivan, appointed to the Los Angeles Immigration Court, Stuart F. Karden to the Orlando Immigration Court, and Joren Lyons of the San Francisco Immigration Court.
Judge O’Sullivan comes to the immigration bench after thirty years of immigration work. Most recently she was a partner in the Boston immigration law firm Kaplan, O’Sullivan, & Friedman. She previously served as the director of the National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project. She was also my immigration law professor during one of her stints as an adjunct professor at New England law schools. My perspective is obviously tainted by the fact that I found her to be a marvelous teacher and person. She is as well versed in the intricacies and history of immigration law as she is passionate about defending the rights of marginalized people. I won’t soon forget the wonderful discussion we had about liberation theology in class one day. The immigration bench is in desperate need of more judges like Judge O’Sullivan.
Likewise, Judge Karden comes to the immigration bench after having been in private immigration law practice for many years. He is a past president of the AILA South Florida Chapter. Judge Lyons joins the EOIR after working as a senior staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco advocacy group.