On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit ruled that immigration judges have a legal duty to fully develop the record in cases before them, adding that this mandate is particularly important for immigrants appearing in their court without an attorney. The court noted that the INA’s mandate that immigration judges “administer oaths, receive evidence, interrogate, examine and cross-examine” noncitizens amounts to a statutory obligation to develop the record. The decision – now precedent in the Fourth Circuit – joins several other circuits that also held that immigration judges have the legal duty to fully develop the record. While other courts have read the INA as also mandating this duty, there is still a circuit spilt among the appellate courts for when this duty comes into play.

Posted in: Immigration