By: Bruce E. Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

As many of you may know, James McHenry, the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), stepped down, effective January 31, 2021, and returned to Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO), where he will be the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (CAHO). McHenry replaces Elizabeth Vayo, who was recently named the Acting CAHO.

Before becoming EOIR Director, McHenry served for about six months, November 2016 to May 2017, as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in OCAHO. In that six-month tenure, McHenry issued six OCAHO decisions related to Form I-9 penalty cases. In those decisions, McHenry generally was lenient toward employers and substantially reduced the penalties in almost all of his decisions.

Jean King is replacing McHenry and was named Acting Director of EOIR, effective January 31, 2021. Previously, she was the Chief Administrative Law Judge (CALJ) at OCAHO from June 2019 to January 2021. Acting Director King is familiar with EOIR as she has held a number of positions with EOIR, including deputy general counsel, acting general counsel, and counsel to the EOIR director.

If you want to know more information on issues related to OCAHO and employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at