We are elated to announce that, as of April 13 2021, Immigration Judge Nicholas Ford has left the bench and will no longer be hearing cases!
On November 12, 2020 a coalition of legal service providers, community members, the San Francisco Public Defender, and the National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco Bay Area filed a complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) against San Francisco-based Immigration Judge Nicholas Ford for his racist, ableist and hostile treatment of immigrants, attorneys and witnesses.
The EOIR complaint alleges Ford:
- Demonstrates unlawful and inappropriate manifestations of bias in the courtroom.
- Treats immigrants, witnesses, and practitioners in an unprofessional and hostile manner.
- Disregards basic legal rules, causing undue prejudice and wasting public resources.
Along with that, numerous legal providers and community members have expressed strong concerns about Ford’s racist history influenced his work in San Francisco. He was especially unsuited to hear cases involving survivors of torture applying for asylum and other forms of immigration relief.
Though the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) “closed” our complaint against him last month, with no transparency regarding whether any disciplinary action was taken, we believe that this is a decisive victory for the immigration justice movement and demonstrates the power of community when we unite to hold judges accountable for abusing immigrants.
The struggle to hold immigration judges and courts accountable is far from over. Every day, judges decide the fates of immigrants in deportation proceedings with little to no due process or access to counsel. That is why we will continue our Immigration Court Observation Program to track the behavior and decisions of judges in immigration courts and demand accountability of the court system as a whole.
This will be the ongoing work of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Immigration Committee. It is incumbent upon us to collectively move towards ending deportations and abolishing the immigration court system, so we can make room for life-affirming resources that welcome and support immigrant communities.
REMOVE IJ FORD PRESS RELEASE (NOV 12 2020)