JUDGES JOURNAL, SUMMER 2017: “IN BORROWED ROBES — A Day in the Life of an IMMIGRATION JUDGE” By Judge Dorothy A. Harbeck



“It was a Sunday afternoon of particular autumn splendor when I found myself trying on vampire capes for work. I had been three-quarters of the way to the York County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, a detention center, for my week-long detail of hearing removal cases of noncitizens when I realized I had forgotten my judicial robe. I was supposed to be on the bench in the immigration court the next morning. I was a new immigration judge (IJ), assigned to a detention facility in Eliz- abeth, New Jersey, and I did not want any problems on my detail to York. I gured forgetting my robe was a rookie move, and I wanted to project authority. Also, there is a specific Operating Policy and Procedure Memorandum (OPPM) on the subject. That OPPM requires that I wear a robe when presiding over cases so that I convey the proper dignity of the court and foster the aims of due process and a fair hearing.”


Read the entire, wonderful first-hand account of a trial judge’s life at the “retail level” of our immigration system by my good friend Judge Dorothy Harbeck of the Elizabeth, N.J. Immigrant Court.