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Get With The Legalization Program

In Iao v. Gonzales, No. 04-1700 (7th Cir. Mar. 9, 2005), the court cites "six disturbing features of the handling of this case that bulk large in the immigration cases that we are seeing":

  1. A lack of familiarity with relevant foreign cultures
  2. An exaggerated notion of how much religious people know about their religion
  3. An exaggerated notion of the availability, especially in poor nations, of documentary evidence of religious membership
  4. Insensitivity to the possibility of misunderstandings caused by the use of translators of difficult languages and relatedly, insensitivity to the difficulty of basing a determination of credibility on the demeanor of a person from a culture remote from the American
  5. Reluctance to make clean determinations of credibility
  6. Affirmances by the Board of Immigration Appeals either with no opinion or with a very short, unhelpful, boilerplate opinion
The court also noted,
"We do not offer these points in a spirit of criticism. The cases that we see are not a random sample of all asylum cases, and the problems that the cases raise may not be representative. Even if they are representative, given caseload pressures and, what is the other side of that coin, resource constraints, it is possible that nothing better can realistically be expected than what we are seeing in this and like cases."

This case illustrates the trend of cases adjudicated by an Immigration Judge that do not provide a detailed record and/or are not properly reasoned which are passed on to the circuit courts with nothing more than a rubberstamp from the BIA (this is the AWO procedure). Had the BIA reviewed this case, at least the obvious errors would have been caught. When the circuit courts do the job of the BIA, is that a proper allocation of national resources? We do not think so. How then did we end up with AWO? Our judicial system is being misused by some misguided folks to speed up the deportation process, the administration of justice be damned. The immigration case backlog truly belongs not before the BIA or before the circuit courts, instead it belongs in the queue for permanent residency. We urge those using the ostrich strategy of sticking their heads in the sand while the storm of global labor mobility swirls all around them to wake up and smell the coffee and get with a legalization program.

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