Council Sues EOIR To Find Out Why Immigrants’ Court Hearings Are Moved Up on Short Notice


Immigration attorneys representing immigrants in removal proceedings frequently report that immigration courts move up the date of their clients’ individual hearings with limited to no notice about the rescheduling and without any input from immigrants or their lawyers.

This unilateral practice can have serious consequences. Individual hearings are where immigrants fighting their removal have an opportunity to present their case before an immigration judge. When clients’ hearings are advanced, attorneys have less time to prepare for individual hearings, potentially jeopardizing successful representation. Because the courts advance hearings without any input from immigrants’ lawyers, attorneys have reported being overburdened with trials and scheduling conflicts.

To learn more about how cases are advanced, the American Immigration Council and the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) on October 28, 2022. The request asked for:

  • Records about EOIR’s practice to advance individual hearings and the notice immigrants and their lawyers should receive.
  • Records about how immigration judges decide whether to grant a continuance when the reason for the extension is attorneys’ work-related conflicts or workload.
  • Data about the number of cases EOIR has advanced in the last two years.

EOIR has failed to respond to the request.

These records should help clarify the type of cases being advanced, whether EOIR follows the rules on how to notify immigrants and their lawyers of the rescheduling, and the appropriate course of action lawyers should take when the workload imposed on them by EOIR impedes the proper representation of their clients.

The lawsuit is being filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.

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