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Gonzales announces reform plans for US immigration courts

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official website] on Wednesday announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] will implement new rules to improve the performance of federal immigration courts [DOJ listing] and the Board of Immigration Appeals [DOJ backgrounder]. The Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) [official website], the governmental agency charged with adjudicating immigration cases, will be given authority to periodically review the work of all immigration judges, and will develop an examination to test all immigration judges on their familiarity with immigration law. To combat petitioner misconduct during immigration hearings, the EOIR will also draft new rules providing the immigration courts with the authority to sanction those who make false statements before the immigration courts and engage in otherwise frivolous behavior.

Gonzales announced the reforms following the conclusion of a comprehensive review of the immigration court system, which he initiated [JURIST report] in January 2006 due to the poor quality of work and discourteous conduct of an increasing number of the judges employed by the Justice Department. The DOJ has a press release on the planned reforms.

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