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Battering Ram
by Daniel M. Kowalski

Daniel M. Kowalski

When the Immigration & Naturalization Service ("INS") goes to federal court it is represented by a cadre of Department of Justice lawyers from the Office of Immigration Litigation, a.k.a. "OIL." Like most government agencies, OIL has summer interns. This year's group of interns did more than legal research and brief writing.

On page 12 of the July 31, 2002 issue of OIL's in-house organ, the "Immigration Litigation Bulletin," OIL states: "In perhaps the highlight of the summer for many, the interns were able to participate in simulated training exercises at the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] Academy. The DEA...permitted the interns to use a battering ram to break down a door, and to simulate a raid on a drug den." **

So federal judges beware: if OIL doesn't like your rulings, they'll just bust down the door to chambers and seize your gavel. Is it any wonder that Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, at the American Bar Association annual meeting, boasted of a "90 percent" success rate "in almost every court on almost every issue?"

The problem is, DOJ lawyers are supposed to care more about "doing justice" than about winning, according to their code of ethics. Even on television, the division of labor is clear: the cops do the busting, the lawyers do the briefing. When using a battering ram is the "highlight" of a federal lawyer-in-training's summer, something is seriously wrong.

About The Author

Daniel M. Kowalski is Editor-in-Chief of Bender's Immigration Bulletin and practices immigration law in Austin, Texas.

** The OIL bulletin is available online at under the Immigration Law "Channel."