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Staff Report

May. 28, 2013

Craig Harlow appointed as immigration judge

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in Falls Church, VA announced the investiture of two immigration judges earlier this spring. One of those appointed during the ceremony, which was presided over by Deputy Chief Immigration Judge Michael C. McGoings, was Lubbock Christian University graduate Craig A. Harlow. Attorney General Eric Holder made the appointment of Judge Harlow, along with Sunita B. Mahtabfar.

"The efficient and timely adjudication of detained aliens' cases are the highest priority for EOIR," said McGoings. "The addition of Mr. Harlow and Ms. Mahtabfar to our immigration judge corps will allow us to better address our detained workload."

Judge Harlow received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989 from Lubbock Christian University and a juris doctorate in 1992 from St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio. From June 2012 to February 2013, he served as an assistant chief counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security, in Dallas. From October 2010 to May 2012, Judge Harlow served as deputy chief counsel for ICE in Oakdale, LA. From September 2007 to September 2010, he was the senior attorney for the New Orleans Office of Chief Counsel. From October 1992 to August 2007, Judge Harlow was an assistant chief counsel for ICE in Oakdale, entering on duty through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. From May 1991 to August 1991, he was a summer law intern in the Oakdale Immigration Court. Judge Harlow is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Judge Harlow shared with The Dustertoday some of his fondest memories of being a student at LCU and how that background has helped him in his career.

Duster: Judge Harlow, as a graduate of Lubbock Christian University, what are some of the characteristics that you developed at LCU that helped in your current appointment as an Immigration Judge?

Judge Harlow: One of the most important skills I developed while at LCU is the skill of time management.  As an immigration judge with a heavy caseload, I must provide fair, legally sound decisions in an expeditious manner.  While at LCU, I was involved in Acappella Chorus, Alpha Chi Delta, Master Follies, and several theater productions.  I also worked a part-time job off campus.  I knew that I wanted to attend law school, so it was important that I maintain a good GPA while being involved in many different areas of campus life.  It was at LCU that I learned the skill of time management, and that skill has served me well in the legal profession.

Duster: In your time on the LCU campus, what are some of the best memories and experiences that you can share?

Judge Harlow: Chorus tours were the highlight of my years at LCU.  I still make regular pilgrimages to New Mexico, and I'm sure I fell in love with the state because of all the time Acappella Chorus spent there. As a kid from a small town in west Texas, the travel associated with being in a chorus, and particularly the tours to California and Hawaii, were huge opportunities for me.  Playing the role of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors my senior year was also a highlight of my time at LCU.  I remember auditioning and explaining to Dr. (Don) Williams that I was only interested in a small role because I was taking 18 hours and working part-time.  Dr. Williams cast me in the lead role, and I had so much fun basically playing myself ... a geeky nerd who wants something more for himself!

Duster: As a judge what are some of the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis related to your job?

Judge Harlow: The biggest challenge in being a judge is being responsible for directing the traffic flow in my courtroom, and ensuring that everyone who appears before me is treated with dignity and respect.  Daily, I see men who are the same age as my 19-year-old son, and I ask myself, "If my son was sitting in a tribunal in a foreign country, and he couldn't speak the language, how would I want the court to treat my son?"

Duster: Are there any specific LCU professors or mentors that you feel helped you to reach the position you are in now?

Judge Harlow: When I was at LCU, I had a sociology professor, Dr. (Callie) Mickey, who had a profound impact on the direction of my life.  Dr. Mickey taught me to accept myself.  I grew up believing that if I had a different opinion from the group, I must be wrong.  Dr. Mickey taught me that reasonable people could disagree and not be enemies.  She taught me that I can have a different opinion from a family member, a friend or even a professor, and that I was entitled to my opinion. When I was practicing law as a trial attorney, I learned that even though I may have a very different legal position than opposing counsel in a particular case, opposing counsel was not necessarily wrong.  He or she simply had a client to represent whose opinions and interests were, at times, vastly different from those of my client.

Duster: Can you share with our readers about your family?

Judge Harlow: I'm the proud dad of two great kids.  My son is a sophomore in college and my daughter is a 5th grader who keeps me up to date in all things regarding fashion and music.

Duster: Finally, what lasting impressions would you like those folks at LCU to remember you for as you serve in your current role?

Judge Harlow: I think the importance of a faith community in a person's life can't be overstated.  For many years, I lived away from my immediate family in Texas.  I was involved in many different ministries at the church I attended in Louisiana, such as deacon board, teaching Sunday school, choir and men's ministry.  The friends that I made through those ministries became my extended family.  My years at LCU certainly enhanced my faith, and taught me the importance of developing meaningful relationships with others through service.

Thank you, Judge Harlow, for taking time from your busy schedule to visit with us. LCU is proud to have you as a representative of our university and we wish you the best of luck in the future.

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