The Immigration Court System
The United States’ immigration law system is complex. Currently, immigration courts in the United States are overseen by the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR). The office is a subsidiary of the Department of Justice. The Attorney General of the United States is the cabinet member overseeing the system. The current system is comprised of lower immigration courts around the country. Appeals from the immigration courts are adjudicated by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Falls Church, Virginia. Decisions from the Board are appealed to federal circuit courts with jurisdiction.
There are fifty-eight immigration courts around the country. Their jurisdiction is limited geographically by zip code. Hearings before the courts are conducted by immigration judges. Immigration judges are selected by the Attorney General. Immigration judges are attorneys who are administrative hearing officers. Every immigration court is managed by the Chief Immigration Judge, who is also appointed.
Immigration judges hear motions and conduct master and individual hearings. They accept evidence and admit it into the record. Immigration judges have broad discretion over proceedings and may question respondents in removal proceedings.