Seven New Immigration Judges Begin Service

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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On November 6, 2017, the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) announced the investiture of seven new immigration judges [PDF version]. Each of the seven new immigration judges was appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The new immigration judges will sit on five different immigration courts across the country. The San Francisco Immigration Court and San Antonio Immigration Court each have two new judges.

Marcus Gemoets now serves on the Houston Immigration Court. Immigration Judge Gemoets' legal experience came in private practice. Notably, he served as director of immigration services for the Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio from 2003-2006.

San Francisco Immigration Court

Bridget Virchis serves on the Los Angeles Immigration Court. Immigration Judge Virchis has extensive experience in government. She served in various capacities as an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from 2008-2017.

The San Francisco Immigration Court is welcoming two new judges. First, Jeremiah Johnson began hearing cases in October of 2017. Immigration Judge Johnson has experience in both private practice and in government. Notably, he served as an asylum officer at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from 2016-2017. Second, Illyce S. Shugall also began hearing cases at the San Francisco Immigration Court in October 2017. Immigration Judge Shugall has extensive experience in private practice. She served as directing attorney for the immigration program at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto from 2012-2017.

The San Antonio Immigration Court also sat two new judges. Yvonne S. Gonzalez began hearing cases at the San Antonio Immigration Court in October 2017. Most of Immigration Judge Gonzalez's experience came as a prosecutor. Most recently, she served as a criminal assistant U.S. attorney in San Antonio from 2012-2016. Cynthia A. Lafuente-Gaona will begin hearing cases in November 2017. Immigration Judge Lafuente-Gaona had served as a congressional staffer in the office of Congressman Henry Cuellar since 2005. From 2011, she was chief of staff and counsel to Congressman Cuellar. She has also worked in private practice and, prior to joining the staff of Congressman Cuellar, she was a state prosecutor.

Finally, Dinesh C. Verma will begin hearing cases at the Philadelphia Immigration Court in November 2017. Immigration Judge Verma worked in private practice. From 1998-99, he served as a judicial law clerk at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.