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OFFICE OF THE CHIEF IMMIGRATION JUDGE

The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) is headed by the chief immigration judge who establishes operating policies for the immigration courts and oversees policy implementation in each of those courts.  OCIJ supervises and directs the activities of the immigration courts, which handle more than 300,000 immigration matters annually.  OCIJ provides overall program direction, articulates policies and procedures, and establishes priorities for more than 230 immigration judges located in more than 55 immigration courts throughout the nation.

Immigration judges are responsible for conducting judicial proceedings and act independently in their decision-making capacity; their decisions are administratively final, unless appealed or certified to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  The judges conduct hearings concerning the removal of illegal aliens throughout the United States.  Through its Criminal Alien Institutional Hearing Program, OCIJ currently has programs coordinated and in place in all 50 states, including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, selected municipalities, and Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities to adjudicate the immigration status of alien inmates incarcerated by Federal, State, and municipal correctional authorities as a result of convictions for criminal offenses.

Biographical Information

Brian M. O’Leary | Michael C. McGoings | Edward F. Kelly
Rico J. Bartolomei | John W. Davis | Jill H. Dufresne
Thomas Y. K. Fong | Mary Beth Keller | Print Maggard
Deepali Nadkarni | Abigail M. Price | Christopher A. Santoro
Elisa M. Sukkar | Jack H. Weil | Robert D. Weisel | Scott M. Rosen


Brian M. O’Leary
Chief Immigration Judge

Brian M. O’Leary has extensive experience in the immigration field and within the United States Department of Justice. He was appointed as the Chief Immigration Judge in July 2009.

From May 2007 to June 2009, Judge O’Leary served as an immigration judge at the Arlington Immigration Court. From May 2006 to May 2007, he served as a temporary Board member on the Board of Immigration Appeals.

From March 2003 to May 2006, Judge O’Leary served as a deputy chief immigration judge (DCIJ) in the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. From May 1994 to March 2003, Judge O’Leary served as an assistant chief immigration judge (ACIJ), during which time, from May 2000 to October 2001, he served as an acting DCIJ.

Before joining the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), Judge O’Leary worked for nine years with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), including five years at the Headquarters Office of the General Counsel, where he served as associate general counsel, deputy associate general counsel, and assistant general counsel.

Judge O’Leary was also a special assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Southern District of Florida and Eastern District of Virginia. He began his career in 1985 as a trial attorney with the INS Miami District Office.

Judge O’Leary completed undergraduate work in 1982 at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and received a juris doctorate in 1985 from the New England School of Law. In 1989, Judge O’Leary became a fellow of the Institute of Court Management, National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Virginia, and completed the Senior Managers in Government Program certificate program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in August 2001. He has been on the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, since 1997. Judge O’Leary is a member of the Florida and Massachusetts state bars.

Michael C. McGoings
Deputy Chief Immigration Judge

Michael C. McGoings was appointed as Deputy Chief Immigration Judge in October 2009. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1965 from Morgan State University, a master of science degree in 1967 from the University of Illinois, and a juris doctorate in 1973 from The Catholic University of America. From March 1995 to October 2009, Judge McGoings served as an ACIJ. During this time, from February to July 2009, he served as acting Chief Immigration Judge. From 1994 to 1995, Judge McGoings was an associate general counsel serving as Chief of the Enforcement Legal Program and from 1991 to 1994, he was an associate general counsel for the Employer Sanctions and Civil Document Fraud Legal Program at the former INS. From 1987 to 1990, he worked as assistant general counsel for the former INS. Judge McGoings is a member of the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania bars.

Edward F. Kelly
Deputy Chief Immigration Judge

Edward F. Kelly was appointed as Deputy Chief Immigration Judge in March 2013. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1982 and a juris doctorate in 1987, both from the University of Notre Dame. From March 2011 to March 2013, Judge Kelly served as an ACIJ. From November 2009 to March 2011, Judge Kelly served as senior counsel and chief of staff for the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge(OCIJ), Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). From 2007 to 2009, he was counsel for operations for OCIJ at EOIR. From 1998 to 2007, Judge Kelly was a senior legal advisor for the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), EOIR. From 1995 to 1998, he served as a supervisory attorney and team leader for the BIA. From 1989 to 1993 and again from 1994 to 1995, Judge Kelly was an attorney advisor for the BIA. From 1987 to 1989, he served as an assistant counsel, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. From 1982 to 1984, he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Gabon, Africa. Judge Kelly is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

Rico J. Bartolomei
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Rico J. Bartolomei was appointed as an ACIJ in April 2012, based in San Diego. Judge Bartolomei received a bachelor of arts degree in 1983 from the University of Notre Dame and a juris doctorate in 1986 from Georgetown University Law Center. From January 2009 to April 2012, and again from September 1994 to October 2006, Judge Bartolomei served as an immigration judge at the San Diego immigration court. From October 2006 to January 2009, Judge Bartolomei served as an assistant chief immigration judge in San Diego. From 1991 to 1994, he served as a staff attorney for the Board of Immigration Appeals. From 1987 to 1991, he worked as an attorney with the Army Judge Advocate Generalís Corps. Judge Bartolomei is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia Bars.

John W. Davis
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

John W. Davis was appointed as an ACIJ in April 2012, based in Denver. Judge Davis received a bachelor of arts degree in 1980 from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, a juris doctorate in 1987 from Creighton University, and a master of laws degree in international law in 1997 from the Army Judge Advocate Generalís School. From June 2008 to April 2012, Judge Davis served as an immigration judge at the Denver immigration court. From September 2002 to June 2008, Judge Davis served as an immigration judge at the Eloy Immigration Court. From January 2002 to September 2002, Judge Davis served as an immigration judge for the Los Angeles Immigration Court. From November 1999 to January 2002, he was an assistant district counsel for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in Eloy. Judge Davis served in the U.S. Air Force from December 1987 to November 1999, holding various positions, including chief, international and operations law, 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; deputy staff judge advocate, 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and circuit trial counsel, Yokota Air Force Base, Japan. Judge Davis is a member of the Nebraska State and Arizona State Bars.

Jill H. Dufresne
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Jill H. Dufresne was appointed as an ACIJ in August 2010. From November 2009 to August 2010, she served as an acting assistant chief immigration judge. She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1975 from American University and a juris doctorate in 1978 from the University of Virginia. From 1998 to 2009, Judge Dufresne served as an immigration judge at the Baltimore Immigration Court. From 1990 to 1998 she served as an ACIJ, working several months as acting chief immigration judge. From 1978 to 1990, Judge Dufresne served in various positions at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, including associate general counsel, assistant district counsel, and trial attorney. Judge Dufresne is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

Thomas Y. K. Fong
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Thomas Y. K. Fong was appointed as an ACIJ in October 2006, based in Los Angeles. He received a bachelor of science degree in 1972 from Brigham Young University and a juris doctorate in 1977 from Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School. From 1984 to October 2006, Judge Fong served at the Los Angeles Immigration Court following his appointment as an immigration judge in October 1984. In 1977, Judge Fong joined DOJ through the Attorney General's Honors Program serving as a trial attorney with the former INS in Los Angeles. From 1982 to 1984, Judge Fong worked at the former INS as appellate trial attorney and chief legal officer, also in Los Angeles. From 1972 to 1978, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. Judge Fong is a member of the Hawaii Bar.

Mary Beth Keller
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

MaryBeth Keller was appointed as an ACIJ in February 2008, with primary responsibility for issues of conduct and professionalism relating to immigration judges. She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1984 from The Catholic University of America and a juris doctorate in 1987 from the University of Virginia School of Law. From 2004 to February 2008, Judge Keller served as General Counsel at EOIR. During that time, from July 2006 to February 2008, she served as Acting ACIJ for Conduct and Professionalism and from October 2004 to April 2006, she served as Acting Chief Administrative Hearing Officer. From 1988 to 2004, Judge Keller served at the BIA, as a senior panel attorney and as an attorney advisor. From 1987 to 1988, she worked as a law clerk in the 5th Judicial District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa. Judge Keller is a member of the Iowa Bar.

Print Maggard
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Print Maggard was appointed as an ACIJ in January 2012. Judge Maggard received a bachelor of arts degree in 1982 from Western Kentucky University; a masters of public administration in 1987 from Golden Gate University; a juris doctorate in 1990 from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; and a master of laws degree in environmental law in 1999 from the George Washington University. From May 2009 to December 2011, Judge Maggard served at the San Francisco Immigration Court as an immigration judge. From July 2006 to April 2009, he served as an assistant chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, in San Francisco. From July 1985 to July 2006, he served in the U.S. Air Force in various capacities including military judge; regional counsel; deputy regional counsel; deputy chief circuit defense counsel; area defense counsel; chief, military justice; and a member of the adjunct faculty at the Air Force Judge Advocateís School. Judge Maggard is a member of the State Bar of California.

Deepali Nadkarni
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Attorney General Holder appointed Deepali Nadkarni in March 2011. She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1991 from Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and a juris doctorate in 1994 from Emory University School of Law. From October 1995 to March 2011, Judge Nadkarni served at the Board of Immigration Appeals, Executive Office for Immigration Review, in various capacities, including attorney advisor, supervisory attorney-examiner, and senior panel attorney. From 1994 to 1995, she worked as a judicial law clerk entering on duty through the Attorney Generalís Honors Program. Judge Nadkarni is a member of the State Bar of Georgia.

Abigail M. Price
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Abigail M. Price was appointed as an ACIJ in January 2013 with responsibility for continuing the development and implementation of EOIR policy concerning vulnerable populations. Judge Price received a bachelor of arts degree in 1982 from Wheaton College, in Norton, Mass.; a juris doctorate in 1988 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio; and a master of laws degree in 1989 from New York University School of Law. From April 2012 to December 2012, Judge Price served as a consultant to Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, Md. From April 2011 to December 2011, she was a consultant for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in New York. From April 2009 to April 2011, Judge Price served as deputy and national legal services director for Kids in Need of Defense in Washington, D.C. From 2001 to 2009, she worked for the IRC, as national director of immigration programs, and as global advisor on the prevention of exploitation. From 2000 to 2001, Judge Price was a resettlement expert for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Department of International Protection, Resettlement Section, in Geneva, Switzerland. From 1996 to 2000, she served as immigration policy advisor for the National Catholic Conference of Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, Migration and Refugee Services, in Washington, D.C. From 1994 to 1996, Judge Price served as the Washington representative for Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program, National Council of Churches USA, in New York. From 1993 to 1994, she was supervising attorney for Haitian Legal Services. From June 1992 to December 1992, Judge Price served as supervising attorney for the Haitian Refugee Program for Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. From 1990 to 1992, she served as supervising attorney for the Diocese of Brooklyn, Catholic Migration Office, in New York. Judge Price is a member of the Connecticut Bar.

Christopher A. Santoro
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Christopher A. Santoro was appointed as an ACIJ in March 2012. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1991 from Tufts University and a juris doctorate in 1994 from the Boston University School of Law. In 2011, Judge Santoro served as an Air Force Reserve trial judge, and, in 2012, he was appointed to be the Air Force Reserve's deputy chief trial judge. He currently holds the position of Chief Reserve Judge and he is also a judge on the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. From 2009 to 2011, he served as special advisor, Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From 2005 to 2009, Judge Santoro served in leadership roles including counsel, deputy director, and senior advisor within the Office of Inspection, Transportation Security Administration, DHS. Also during this time, Judge Santoro served as a military trial judge. From 2001 to 2005, Judge Santoro was a trial attorney in the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. He entered active duty with the U.S. Air Force in 1995 and served as a senior regional prosecutor and appellate attorney until 2001. From 1988 to 1995, Judge Santoro was a patrol officer with the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire Police Department. Judge Santoro is a member of the New Hampshire, Colorado, and District of Columbia bars.

Elisa M. Sukkar
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Elisa M. Sukkar was appointed as an ACIJ in April 2008, based in Miami. She received a bachelor of science degree in 1983 from Florida International University and a juris doctorate in 1987 from Nova Law School. From March 1995 to April 2008, Judge Sukkar served as an immigration judge at the Miami Immigration Court. From 1987 to 1995, she was in private practice in Miami where she specialized in immigration law. Judge Sukkar is a member of the Florida Bar.

Jack H. Weil
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Jack H. Weil was appointed as an ACIJ in December 2009, with primary responsibility for training immigration judges, court administrators, interpreters, legal technicians, and judicial law clerks. From April to December 2009, he served as an acting ACIJ in this position. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1985 and a juris doctorate in 1988, both from the University of Maryland. From 1994 to 2009, Judge Weil served as an immigration judge in the El Centro Immigration Court. From 1990 to 1994, he worked as associate counsel to the director, EOIR. From 1988 to 1990, Judge Weil was a judicial law clerk with the San Diego Immigration Court. In 2001, he joined the faculty of the National Judicial College where he teaches “Bias and Ethics for Administrative Law Judges” and serves as faculty assistant in the course on distance training of judges. He is co-author of “Deskbook on Evidence for Administrative Law Judges” published by the National Judicial College in 2006. Judge Weil is a member of the Maryland Bar. Mr. Weil is presently on detail to the Office of the Director.

Robert D. Weisel
Assistant Chief Immigration Judge

Robert D. Weisel was appointed as an ACIJ in January 2012. Judge Weisel received a bachelor of arts degree in 1973 from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a juris doctorate in 1976 from Hamline University School of Law. From September 1989 to December 2011, he served at the New York Immigration Court as an immigration judge. From April 1988 to October 1989, he worked as a deputy chief judge for the New York State Workers Compensation Board in Brooklyn. During this time, from October 1988 to June 1989, he worked as an attorney for Cherry, Edson & Kelly in Hempstead, N.Y. From 1984 to April 1988, Judge Weisel was a workers compensation judge for the New York State Workers Compensation Board in Brooklyn. From 1979 to 1984, he served as a staff attorney for the Social Security Administration in Hempstead. Judge Weisel is a member of the New York State Bar.

Scott M. Rosen
Chief Counsel to the Chief Immigration Judge

Scott M. Rosen was appointed as chief counsel to the Chief Immigration Judge in March 2008. He received a bachelor of business administration degree in 1978 from Emory University and a juris doctorate in 1983 from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. From July 2006 to February 2008, Mr. Rosen served as special counsel to the Chief Immigration Judge. From 1998 to June 2006, he served as a senior assistant general counsel and associate general counsel, EOIR. During this time, from January to June 2001, Mr. Rosen served as a special assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. From 1996 to 1998, he served as appellate counsel for the former INS in Falls Church, Va. From 1989 to 1995, Mr. Rosen served as a trial attorney for INS in Miami. Prior to joining the INS, he was in private practice. Mr. Rosen is a member of the Florida Bar.


Updated April 11, 2014

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