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Holder Appoints New Chief Immigration Judge
By Joe Palazzolo | July 1, 2022 11:05 am

Brian M. O’Leary has been tapped as chief immigration judge, replacing  Michael C. McGoings, who has been overseeing the office in an acting capacity since February. O’Leary is an Arlington, Va.- based immigration judge who has served as a temporary member on the Board of Immigration Appeals and as a deputy chief immigration judge.

The chief immigration judge is essentially the administrator of the nation’s 50 immigration courts. He provides direction, lays down policy and procedures, and articulates the priorities for the 220 or so judges scattered around the country.

It’s a big job. Increased enforcement, shoddy lawyering, and overworked judges have fueled a crisis in the immigration system. The courts have been deluged by nearly 300,000 new cases a year, and federal appeals courts have seen their dockets mobbed by immigration appeals.

We wish you luck, Chief Judge O’Leary.

See the full DOJ news release below.

WASHINGTON Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the appointment of Brian M. O’Leary as the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) Chief Immigration Judge.  Prior to his appointment, Judge O’Leary served as an immigration judge from May 2007 to June 2009 at the Arlington, Va., Immigration Court.  He served as a temporary board member on the Board of Immigration Appeals from May 2006 to May 2007 and as a deputy chief immigration judge in the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge from March 2003 to May 2006.

Judge O’Leary served as an assistant chief immigration judge from May 1994 to March 2003, during which time, from May 2000 to October 2001, he served as an acting deputy chief immigration judge.  Before joining EOIR, Judge O’Leary worked for five years in numerous positions with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Headquarters Office of the General Counsel where he served as associate general counsel, deputy associate general counsel, and assistant general counsel.  He also served with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the  Southern District of Florida, as well as the Eastern District of Virginia, where he worked as special assistant U.S. attorney.  Prior to that experience, Judge O’Leary worked as a trial attorney with the INS Miami District Office.

Judge O’Leary completed undergraduate work at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1982, and received a juris doctorate in 1985 from the New England School of Law.  He is a member of the Massachusetts and Florida state bars.

The Office of Chief Immigration Judge is part of EOIR located in Falls Church, Va.  The Chief Immigration Judge provides overall program direction, articulates policies and procedures, and establishes priorities for more than 200 immigration judges located in more than 50 immigration courts nationwide.  EOIR’s immigration judges conduct administrative court proceedings to determine whether foreign-born individualswho are charged by the Department of Homeland Security with violating immigration lawshould be ordered removed from the United States or should be granted relief from removal and be permitted to remain in this country.  Immigration judges decide each case independently, and their decisions are final unless appealed or certified to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

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"Your Civil Rights Division is a rat's nest." - Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) to Attorney General Eric Holder. 

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