Government Faces Lawsuit for Failing to Disclose Information on Expansion of Immigration Courts and Immigration Adjudication Centers

Government Faces Lawsuit for Failing to Disclose Information on Expansion of Immigration Courts and Immigration Adjudication Centers

STATUS:
Pending

Under the Trump administration, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has undertaken an expansion of immigration courts and instated the concept of immigration adjudication centers (IAC). But they have not provided little information to the public about these initiatives—including the location and relevant procedural rules in some instances.

Public information about the location and expansion of these courts and centers is critically important. These entities are tasked with hearing and deciding hundreds of removal proceedings each year, determining whether individuals will face deportation from the United States or be permitted to remain. EOIR’s purported aim in expanding courts and creating IACs is to address backlogs. However, media reports and direct observation by advocates and practitioners raise concerns that these efforts instead amount to the facilitation of assembly-line justice—in which cases are rapidly funneled with little oversight or regard for due process.

Immigration lawyers and advocates have expressed concerns after public reports indicate the potential expansion of immigration courts and immigration adjudication centers across the country, which almost exclusively rely on the use of video teleconferencing which creates further due process concerns. 

The American Immigration Council and partners filed a Freedom of Information Act request in order to disclose records on the expansion of the courts and IACs, obscure procedural rules for immigration adjudication centers and to obtain contracts for existing and proposed sites. However, the agency failed to disclose critical information about what immigration courts presently exist, immigration court expansion, and contracts governing this expansion.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Chicago AILA Chapter, and the National Immigrant Justice Center in District Court for the District of Columbia.

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