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7 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 275 (1993)
Chief Immigration Judge William R. Robie - A Tribute

handle is hein.journals/geoimlj7 and id is 287 raw text is: CHIEF IMMIGRATION JUDGE WILLIAM R.
ROBIE-A TRIBUTE
MAURICE A. ROBERTS*
The untimely death of Chief Immigration Judge William R. Robie
on October 18, 1992 deprived all of us in the field of immigration and
nationality law of a truly unique national resource.
Of course, there were other Chief Immigration Judges before Judge
Robie, going back to the days following the enactment of the Immigra-
tion and Nationality Act (INA) in 1952. The immigration judges were
then known as special inquiry officers. To facilitate their operations,
INS Commissioner Joseph M. Swing in 1954 created the post of Chief
Special Inquiry Officer in the INS Central Office. A number of Service
officers, some of them outstanding, successively occupied that position
during the years that followed. However, their responsibilities and op-
portunities for innovation were necessarily circumscribed by the fact
that the special inquiry officers themselves were part of the INS, and to
a degree, dependent on Service officers with enforcement responsibili-
ties. This circumstance was subject to wide criticism.'
It was not until 1983, when the Attorney General by regulation cre-
ated the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) that the
special inquiry officers became truly independent of the INS. The Of-
fice of the Chief Special Inquiry Officer was set up as one of the two
bodies in the EOIR, and the Chief Special Inquiry Officer was given
authority, and the special inquiry officers under his supervision were
completely free of Service domination.
It was fortunate that a person with Judge Robie's unique back-
ground and personal qualities came along when he did. It was a new
ball game, with problems galore and countless opportunities for innova-
tive thinking. Coupled with his administrative experience was Judge
Robie's penchant for clear thinking and almost limitless energy and
drive. In the space of a few years, Judge Robie led the way in trans-
forming the immigration court into an effective mechanism capable of
handling an ever-increasing workload of cases that grew more and
more vexing as Congress enacted legislation of greater and greater
* Editor-in-Chief, INTERPRETER RELEASES; Chairman, Board of Immigration Appeals, 1968-
1 974.
I. See, e.g., Roberts, Proposed. A Specialized Statutory Immigration Court, 18 SAN DIEGO
L. REV. 1 (1980).

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