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Boston Immigration Courts' New Additions - EOIR Announces 5 New Immigration Judges for Boston Court

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has marked a significant milestone in the American justice system. Today, under the attentive eyes of the legal community and countless individuals awaiting immigration hearings, the EOIR unveiled a substantial increase to its judicial ranks with the appointment of 38 immigration judges spread across key states including California, Florida, Georgia, and several others. This move underscores a robust commitment to expedite and enhance the efficiency of the U.S. immigration judicial process.


The investiture, held at the Department of Justice’s Great Hall in Washington, D.C., was graced by none other than Attorney General Merrick Garland. With solemnity and purpose, he administered the oath of office, setting these judges on their pivotal journey of upholding the tenets of immigration law.


Of notable mention is Massachusetts, specifically Boston, which welcomes five of these esteemed legal professionals to its immigration courts. Their appointment not only enriches the expertise available in the state but also promises a more efficient adjudication process for its residents. The addition of these judges symbolizes a hopeful stride forward in navigating the intricate maze of immigration issues that many face, ensuring that every case is met with the due diligence and justice it deserves.


For over half a century, Blumsack & Canzano has been more than just a law firm in Massachusetts – it's been a cornerstone. Established in 1971 amidst the waves of socio-political change, our firm has persistently championed the rights of individuals and businesses, always staying attuned to the evolving landscape of law. We've borne witness to the countless shifts in immigration trends and policies, understanding their profound implications on our diverse community. As such, the recent appointment of five new judges to the Boston Immigration Courts has naturally piqued our interest and demands a thorough examination.



The Fabric of Boston: A Mosaic of Immigrant Stories

Boston, with its rich history, has always been a melting pot of cultures. The city's fabric is woven with tales of immigrants who've arrived at its shores, seeking refuge, opportunity, and a dream. The role of the Immigration Court, thus, is not just procedural but profoundly human. It is in this backdrop that the new judges will play a pivotal role, and their individual experiences, academic journeys, and professional paths are of particular interest.


Diverse Trajectories, Common Destination

1. Judge Sameer Ahmed's academic accolades span continents. The blend of Western liberal arts education from Stanford with the rich traditions of London and Oxford makes him a scholar of both worlds. His stint at ACLU, a torchbearer for civil rights, gives him a vantage point that's bound to be empathetic and grounded.


Judge Sameer Ahmed began his illustrious academic journey in 2003, earning a Bachelor of Arts from the prestigious Stanford University. He then moved overseas, immersing himself in international study with a Master of Science from the University of London in 2005. Continuing his pursuit of academic excellence, he then achieved a Master of Studies from the University of Oxford in 2007. On his return to the US, he pursued legal studies, culminating in his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 2009. Over the years, Judge Ahmed has been a beacon of legal expertise and instruction. From 2020 to 2023, he shaped young minds as a clinical instructor at the Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Harvard Law School. Before this, he spent a year, from 2019 to 2020, as an assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University School of Law. His commitment to civil liberties shone brightly during his tenure as an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California from 2017 to 2019. Additionally, he has a rich background in legal practice, having served as an attorney at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in Boston during two distinct periods, from 2015 to 2017 and earlier from 2013 to 2014. His judicial understanding was further honed when he clerked for the Honorable Kermit V. Lipez at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 2014 to 2015, and previously for the Honorable Patti B. Saris, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 2011 to 2013. Starting his legal career, Judge Ahmed was a Skadden fellow at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York from 2009 to 2011. His affiliations with the Massachusetts Bar and the New York State Bar stand as a testament to his widespread recognition in the legal community.


2. Judge Jonathan H. Hall, with his background in administrative law, brings to the table an intricate understanding of bureaucracy and its interplay with human rights—a perspective that's often needed in immigration cases, which frequently tread the line between administrative procedure and human consequence.


Judge Jonathan H. Hall's academic path started in 2004 when he attained his Bachelor of Arts from The University of Rhode Island. After several years, he advanced his studies, receiving a Juris Doctor in 2011 from Suffolk University Law School. His academic pursuits did not end there, as he furthered his legal expertise with a Master of Laws in 2013 from American University Washington College of Law. Judge Hall's legal career has been defined by a blend of administrative and legal roles. Just before his current appointment, he served the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings as an administrative law judge from 2021 to 2023. Prior to this, he had an extensive association with the District of Columbia, serving as the assistant general counsel at the Metropolitan Police Department from 2016 to 2021, and even before that as assistant attorney general at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2016. His professional affiliations include membership with the District of Columbia Bar.


3. Judge Justin R. McEwen carries with him tales from the seas and lands afar. His time in the U.S. Navy, serving in regions as diverse as Japan and Iraq, offers a firsthand experience of global socio-political dynamics. This global perspective is invaluable in immigration deliberations.


Judge Justin R. McEwen's legal journey is enriched by a blend of academic achievements and military service. He began his higher education in 1999, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Utah University. His inclination toward law led him to attain a Juris Doctor in 2002 from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. A decade later, in 2013, he further honed his legal expertise by pursuing a Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy from California Western School of Law. However, what truly distinguishes Judge McEwen is his extensive service as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Navy from 2003 to 2023. This two-decade-long service saw him in various roles across different regions – from Washington Navy Yard in D.C. to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in Baghdad. His dedication culminated in his role as the Circuit Judge for Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia from 2019 to 2023. Before embarking on his naval journey, Judge McEwen spent a year clerking at the Texas Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana, Texas, in 2002. His legal commitment is further evident in his membership with the State Bar of Texas.

4. Judge George D. Pappas, with a blend of rigorous academic pursuits and grassroots level legal practice, stands as a testament to both theory and practice. His dedication to pro bono services hints at a deeper commitment to the ideals of justice and service.


Judge George D. Pappas's academic trajectory spans decades and continents. In 1982, he began his higher education journey at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, earning a Bachelor of Science. He returned to the same university to attain a Bachelor of Laws in 1998. His academic pursuits in law took him to the US, where he secured a Master of Laws in 2000 from Widener University School of Law, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy in 2014 from Birkbeck School of Law, University of London. Professionally, Judge Pappas has been a stalwart in private practice, leading as the principal attorney at George D. Pappas Esq. PC from 2003 to 2023. His practice areas encompassed immigration, family law, criminal law, and civil litigation. Beyond his private practice, he has been an ardent supporter of pro bono services, offering legal assistance to organizations like the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and the Pair Project in Boston. Judge Pappas holds memberships with both the North Carolina State Bar and the Massachusetts Bar.

5. Judge Juliana Zach, with roots in Brazil and legal training spanning across continents, embodies the immigrant spirit. Her family and criminal litigation expertise will be instrumental in cases where the lines blur between immigration and domestic legal issues.


Judge Juliana Zach offers a unique blend of international academic exposure and extensive legal practice. Her legal foundation was laid in Brazil, where she earned a Bachelor of Law in 1994 from the Universidade Católica de Pernambuco. Moving to the US, she diversified her expertise by acquiring a Master of Business Administration in 2004 from Florida Metropolitan University. Her passion for law led her to further her studies with a Juris Doctor in 2007 from the University of Miami School of Law. Professionally, Judge Zach has been active in multiple domains of law. Most notably, she served as the Assistant State Attorney in the State Attorney's Office, Miami-Dade County from 2008 to 2015. This tenure was followed by her role as the Senior Associate Attorney at a private firm, De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zach, P.A., from 2015 to 2023. Her practice areas have spanned criminal litigation, family law, and immigration matters. Her affiliations include memberships with the Florida Bar, the New York State Bar, and the Brazilian Bar Association.


A Deeper Look at Boston's New Immigration Judges: Boston's recently appointed immigration judges are an illustrious blend of deep academic pursuits, diverse global experiences, and steadfast commitment to public service. Their educational background, spanning from prestigious institutions such as Yale, Oxford, and the University of London, hints at internationally informed perspectives that are further enriched by their diverse professional engagements across the world. With a history steeped in roles that range from prestigious law firms to critical public service positions, they bring a balance of theoretical knowledge and practical acumen. Their affiliations, especially in the realms of immigration and civil rights, underscore a profound understanding of the human narratives intertwined with legal complexities. Moreover, their mentorships under distinguished jurists and affiliations with state Bars emphasize their dedication to the ethics of the profession. Overall, Boston Immigration Courts seem poised for a renaissance, with these judges at the helm, promising a bench that's both profoundly knowledgeable and deeply empathetic.


This collective experience and diverse background of the judges promise a renewed vigor in the Boston Immigration Courts, hopefully ushering in an era of empathetic and informed judgments.

What Lies Ahead for Boston's Immigration Landscape?

With these new appointments, the Boston Immigration Court is poised for a renaissance. The bench's collective experience and diverse backgrounds hint at an era of nuanced, empathetic, and informed judgments.


The induction of these esteemed judges in Boston mirrors a broader trend across the country, signaling a revamped approach to immigration policy and adjudication. This fresh wave of appointments, encompassing diverse experiences and rich academic backgrounds, underscores the current administration's commitment to reshaping America’s immigration narrative. It hints at a more inclusive, informed, and empathetic stance, replacing the more restrictive views of yesteryears. Such nationwide judicial revamps not only breathe fresh air into the courts but also reaffirm the age-old American principle of being a welcoming land for all. Boston’s new appointments, thus, are not an isolated event but a part of a strategic mosaic, reflecting the government's intent to align the immigration system with values of justice, fairness, and compassion at its core.


As practitioners in this evolving landscape, Blumsack & Canzano looks forward to engaging with the court, armed with our legacy of commitment, understanding, and advocacy. We remain, as always, dedicated to our clients, helping navigate the intricate alleys of immigration law, and ensuring that the dream that brought so many to Boston's shores remains alive and well.

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