Fourteen Immigration Court judges, including Chief Immigration Judge MaryBeth Keller, were at The National Judicial College this week taking the College’s course in managing courts, dockets and personnel.
The Immigration Courts—which are part of the Justice Department, not the judiciary—adjudicate cases involving deportations, visa revocations, and refugees seeking asylum, among other issues. The courts have a pending caseload of more than a half-million cases, and that volume is expected to increase with the current shift toward tighter immigration policies.
Keller, who has been with the agency for 29 years, said the Department of Homeland Security, which prosecutes immigration cases, has traditionally been allocated far more resources than the Immigration Courts. The courts currently have about 301 judges, and Congress has authorized a maximum of 374.
In addition to Chief Judge Keller, the 14 immigration judges attending the course in Reno included the deputy chief and most of the assistant chief immigration judges. Asked the reason for choosing the NJC, a spokesperson for the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review said the office consistently seeks out, and encourages staff to attend, the most effective and beneficial trainings available nationwide.