Every summer the Immigration Judges from around the country meet in suburban Washington D.C. for a training session. The training materials are interesting, because they help us understand the IJs’ thinking on specific issues. The 2018 conference was held at the Sheraton in Tysons Corner, VA. Jeff Sessions gave a speech at this conference which, for many observing, raised serious questions about his lack of willingness to allow IJs to make independent judgments. He also talked about his decision in Matter of A-B- which he published later that day.
After the conference in 2018 I requested the training materials, handouts, slides, program, and schedule. This is what I received in response:
Cancellation of Removal:
Claims to U.S. Citizenship:
Evidentiary Challenges in Immigration Court:
Developments in Criminal Immigration and Bond Law:
This presentation is really striking, because Board Member Roger Pauley appears to be instructing the IJs not to apply the “categorical approach” when it doesn’t lead to a “sensible result.” The “categorical approach” is mandatory, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly had to reverse the BIA and instruct them to properly apply it. So, it’s definitely disheartening to see this is the instruction the IJs received at their conference this summer on how to apply the categorical approach:
Advanced Adjudication Issues in Asylum Law:
Advanced Criminal Immigration Issues:
If you look at the schedule, you’ll see there are a number of sessions for which we did not receive any materials. I’m not sure what that means. It’s possible there were no prepared remarks, no slides, no handouts, and no materials for the presentation. I think it’s more likely that there are additional materials that haven’t been produced, so we’ll be following up with EOIR to see if we can get the rest.