I am calling your attention to Niam v. Ashcroft and Blagoev v. Ashcroft, Nos. 02-4292, 03-1115 (7th Cir. Jan. 7, 2004), consolidated cases from the 7th Circuit. In his decision remanding both cases, Judge Posner excoriates the Board, as well as the IJs. Posner starts by severely critcizing the Board for " a pattern of serious misapplication by the board and the immigration judges of elementary principles of adjudication" He quotes Galina v INS, a 2000 7th Circuit case, that "the elementary principles of administrative law, the rules of logic, and common sense seem to have eluded the Board in this as in other cases". He further says that "the immigration judge's analysis was so inadequate as to raise questions of judicial incompetence". On page 5, Judge Posner says: "when as in this case the borad's opinion merely supplements the immigration judge's opinion, the latter opinion as supplemented by the board's opinion becomes the basis for review". In the Blagoev case, Judge Posner severely questions and criticizes the IJ's reliance on Country Reports, stating that they are suspect because of the political dimension of the U.S. government's tendency to go easy on countries with which we are friendly. I think this opinion has implications for the BIA's habit of "streamlined review". It should be of interest to your readers.
Larry Hagen, Attorney at Law
Editor's Note: Thank you for pointing out these cases in connection with the BIA's AWO procedure. Please see our comments above.
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