Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ)

The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) provides overall program direction, articulates policies and procedures, and establishes priorities for more than 200 Immigration Judges located in 54 Immigration Courts throughout the Nation. The Chief Immigration Judge carries out these responsibilities with the assistance and support of two Deputy Chief Immigration Judges and 10 Assistant Chief Immigration Judges.

Immigration Judges are responsible for conducting formal court proceedings, and act independently in deciding the matters before them. Their decisions are administratively final unless appealed or certified to the Board of Immigration Appeals. In removal proceedings, Immigration Judges determine whether an individual from a foreign country (an alien) should be allowed to enter or remain in the United States. They also have jurisdiction to consider various forms of relief from removal. In a typical removal proceeding, the Immigration Judge may decide whether an alien is deportable or inadmissible under the law, then may consider whether that alien may avoid forced removal by accepting voluntary departure or by qualifying for asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment status, protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, or other forms of relief.

Many removal proceedings are conducted in prisons and jails as part of an initiative called the Criminal Alien Institutional Hearing Program. In coordination with Department of Homeland Security and correctional authorities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, selected municipalities, and Federal Bureau of Prison facilities, Immigration Judges conduct on-site hearings to adjudicate the immigration status of alien while they are serving sentences for criminal convictions.

See also…

Immigration Law