Historic: Gambian Immigrant Lawyer Sarjo Barrow appointed U.S. Immigration Judge

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Judge Sarjo Barrow

In a historical development, the United States Department of Justice has appointed Sarjo Barrow, a prominent Gambian immigration lawyer, as an Immigration Judge.

Sarjo Barrow was appointed a federal immigration judge to begin hearing cases in May 2024 with 18 other new immigration Judges and two new appellate judges and was sworn in today at a ceremony held in Washington, DC.

Judge Barrow earned a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, in 2010 from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 2013 from Cooley Law School (formerly Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School).

From 2023 to 2024, he served as an assistant chief counsel at the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in Baltimore. From 2019 to 2023, he served as an assistant chief counsel for OPLA, ICE, and DHS in San Francisco. During his time with DHS’s human rights program, he handled complex human rights violators and national security cases, prosecuted criminal aliens, individuals who provided material support to terrorist organizations, and individuals charged with persecuting others under the refugee statute. He also handled complex asylum fraud and waiver cases, firm resettlement bars, and asylum cases with red/yellow notices from Interpol.

From 2017 to 2019, he served as an immigration attorney at Lawton & Cates SC in Madison, Wisconsin. As a private practitioner, he represented noncitizens in U.S. immigration and nationality law matters in immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals, civil rights claims, and constitutional matters in federal courts. He first chaired trials and appeals ranging from straightforward asylum claims to cases involving human rights violators’ claims and national security claims. He has litigated complex immigration detained cases involving, for example, lengthy criminal records, the firm resettlement bar, and novel particular social groups. Moreover, he litigated prolonged detention cases (habeas actions) and mandamus actions in federal court, including Padilla’s challenges in state courts.

Finally, from 2013 to 2016, he operated his law firm, Law Office of Sarjo Barrow, LLC, where he accepted appointed cases from the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, represented noncitizens in removal/deportation hearings in detained and non-detained immigration matters, and immigration litigation in federal courts.

From 2013 to 2019, Judge Barrow accepted several pro bono cases as a private attorney before EOIR and DHS and was recognized by the State Bar of Wisconsin for his pro bono work.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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