According to reports, effective January 31, 2021, Jean King is the new Acting Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). She is a former general counsel for EOIR and most recently served as EOIR’s chief administrative law judge.

Ms. King replaces James McHenry, who led initiatives to close cases much faster and to limit asylum, among others. Greg Chen, director of government affairs for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the organization had “deep concerns” about Mr. McHenry, and other Trump administration appointees leading EOIR, “who have stripped judges of fundamental authorities that make it impossible for them to render fair and consistent decisions.” He said Mr. McHenry was the architect of changes that tarnished the credibility and impartiality of the immigration courts and “converted the courts into conveyor belts for rapid deportation.”

The news of Ms. King’s appointment, signaling a policy shift, came in a memorandum from Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin to staff and judges. The memo reportedly stated that Ms. King would provide continuity in EOIR leadership until a new director is selected.

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