For some inexplicable reason, judge Montante will give you an extremely hard time when it comes to motions for a change of venue.
Of course, not everyone will let him get away with abuse of discretion, and in September 2013 a legal aid successfully filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, challenging the denial of a motion for a change of venue by judge Montante. The case is Ngassaki v. Holder.
The criteria for a motion for a change of venue were explained by the Board of Immigration Appeals in Matter of Rahman, Interim Decision 3174 (BIA 1992): relevant factors include administrative convenience, expeditious treatment of the case, location of witnesses, and cost of transporting witnesses or evidence to a new location.
The same determination was made by the Second Circuit in Lovell v. I.N.S., 52 F.3d 458, 460 (2d Cir. 1995).
Moreover, an Immigration Court has a duty to facilitate the testimony of witnesses. Failure to do so it is a certain ground for an appeal.
In Monter v. Gonzales, 430 F.3d 546 (2d Cir. 2005), the Court held that the location of the respondent’s witnesses is central when it comes to rule on a motion for a change of venue. In Monter, the Court explained that the respondent and the witnesses were residing much closer to New York City than Buffalo, and that the Hon. Montante had a duty to facilitate their testimony. In sum, the denial of the motion for a change of venue affected the overall fairness of the proceeding, and therefore was prejudicial.
Finally, it is important to remember that “the place where an applicant happens to attempt to enter the United States, in and of itself, may have little, if any, significance to the question of where venue should lie in an exclusion proceeding” See Matter of Rahman, Interim Decision 3174 (BIA 1992).
In sum, when dealing with the Buffalo Immigration Court, try to apply this cases to the specific facts of your case so that it will be more difficult for judge Montante to deny your motion for a change of venue.