Immigration judge, subject of complaint by lawyers, retires

A San Francisco Immigration Court judge who was the subject of a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department involving hostile and biased treatment of immigrants abruptly quit his post this week

SAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco Immigration Court judge who was the subject of a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department involving hostile and biased treatment of immigrants abruptly quit his post this week.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Judge Nicholas Ford did not acknowledge the complaint by local attorneys representing immigrants, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

Instead, he criticized the entire court system and called its managers "a fearful community whose primary interest has never been the growth of those they oversee but rather their own continued employment.”

“I am an older judge and it is hard to understand how any court system can function like this,” he added.

Last November. a coalition led by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called for his removal from the bench, alleging in a complaint that Ford acted in an “aggressive, unprofessional and demeaning” manner toward immigrants.

The guild said the Justice Department closed its investigation into Ford last month without disclosing whether any disciplinary action was taken.

Ford and the Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment from the Chronicle.

The guild said in a statement Saturday that it believes the public pressure for Ford to be removed from the bench had an impact.

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