In the United States, immigration judges play a crucial role in the country’s immigration system, presiding over cases that determine the fate of millions of individuals seeking asylum, protection, and the right to stay in the country. Given the important role judges play in the immigration system, you might be wondering how immigration judges get selected. Immigration judges are appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) through a rigorous selection process that prioritizes legal expertise, impartiality, and ethical conduct.
The selection process for immigration judges involves several steps, including identification of a need for judges, solicitation of applications, evaluation and ranking of applicants, interviews, and final appointment. These steps ensure that only the most qualified and competent candidates are appointed to the immigration courts.
1. Identification of Need: The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a sub-agency within the DOJ, oversees the country’s immigration courts. The EOIR identifies the need for new immigration judges based upon factors such as caseload, retirements, and changes in immigration policies or laws. Once a need is identified, the EOIR works with the DOJ to initiate the hiring process.