Due Process and the Courts

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

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Beginning in the mid-1990s, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) began using video hearing equipment in immigration courts across the country. As a result, frequently a noncitizen facing removal is deprived of the opportunity to appear in person before an immigration judge. Video hearings are more common where a noncitizen is detained, though many non-detained individuals are subjected to video hearings as well. EOIR uses video hearings for both preliminary hearings (“master calendar hearings”) and merits hearings (“individual hearings”). In February 2012, the American Immigration Council submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to EOIR asking for records related to video teleconferencing (VTC). EOIR produced two sets of records.
Urging Attorney General Holder to vacate Matter of Compean, 24 I & N Dec. 710 (A.G. 2009), which he later did in Matter of Compean, 25 I&N Dec. 1 (A.G. 2009)

The Council filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before Immigration and Customs Enforement...

The Council submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to the Department of Justice and the Executive Office for Immigration Review, urging the Department to rescind the regulation barring post-departure motions to reopen.

The Council filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel before United States Citizenship and...

The Council, in collaboration with AILA, inter alia, urged EOIR to amend regulations pertaining to telephonic and video hearings (see page 4).
The Council commented on several issues addressed by the draft report, including video hearings (see page 4). ACUS’s draft report and the final recommendations, included that EOIR should consider more systemic assessments of the use of video hearings.
In this March 24, 2011 letter, the Council and AILA urged USCIS to address reports of widespread and recurrent restrictions on access to counsel. These restrictions, documented in a nation-wide survey (http://www.aila.org/infonet/final-results-attorney-representation-before-dhs) of immigration attorneys, included limitations on attorneys’ ability to communicate with their clients, restrictions on attorney seating during USCIS interviews, and limitations on attorneys’ ability to submit documents to the interviewing officer.
Pertaining to regulations on motions to reopen, stays of removal, bond hearings, telephonic and video hearings, filing and service of documents and decisions, and stipulated removal orders.
Addressing representation, stipulated removal orders , prosecutorial discretion, video hearings, and the asylum clock.
September 9, 2019

The first thing many people forcibly returned to Mexico tell you is that they’re afraid. Afraid of the cartels, afraid of Mexican immigration officials, and afraid of the months of uncertainty....

August 29, 2019

Immigration judges from across the country will soon be reassigned from their normal caseload to  preside over thousands of immigration cases along the U.S.-Mexico border, reportedly in an effort...

August 27, 2019

The Trump administration implemented more drastic changes to the U.S. immigration court system on Monday. A new rule gives the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)—a...

August 19, 2019

A federal appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that immigrant children must receive edible food, clean water, soap, and toothpaste while being detained by U.S. immigration authorities....

August 12, 2019

Immigration judges around the country are denouncing the Trump administration’s latest move to “disband and destroy” their union. The judges’ union has been openly critical of the administration’s...

August 9, 2019

In an attempt to rush through immigrant families’ court cases, the government began implementing “rocket dockets” in September 2018 for parents and children who had recently entered the United...

August 6, 2019

The Trump administration recently announced it would start applying a fast-tracked deportation process known as “expedited removal” to hundreds of thousands more people than ever before. People...

July 31, 2019

Attorney General William Barr issued a decision that significantly restricts the ability of many current asylum seekers to win their cases on Monday. In Matter of L-E-A-, Barr issued a new...

July 26, 2019

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision clarifying limits on when federal prosecutors can charge immigrants with illegal entry and reentry into the United States this week.  Under...

July 25, 2019

A federal judge in California blocked the implementation of a new rule yesterday that would have prevented most immigrants who arrive at the U.S. southern land border from qualifying for asylum in...

June 2, 2017
Access to legal counsel is a core American value and is the cornerstone of our justice system. Yet, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has severely limited access to legal assistance for asylum-seeking women and children held in family detention facilities.
May 25, 2017
AILA and the Council have petitioned the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to issue new regulations that will ensure all immigrants have access to legal counsel in secondary and deferred inspection, as well as overseas consular interviews.
January 12, 2017
A federal court in Seattle has granted nationwide class action status to a case seeking to protect the rights of thousands of asylum seekers pursuing protection from persecution in their home countries.
November 18, 2016
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to serve as Attorney General in President-Elect Trump’s new administration. The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
October 5, 2016
In accordance with a settlement reached by the parties, a federal district court dismissed a class action lawsuit which challenged U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for case information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
September 20, 2016
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Dobrin & Han, PC, American Immigration Council, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild commend the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) for reversing course and now allowing asylum applicants to file their applications by mail or in person at an immigration court window.
August 1, 2016
An appellate court has ruled for an immigration group in a lawsuit against the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) challenging its response to a request for information regarding alleged misconduct by immigration judges and records that would reveal whether the agency adequately investigates and resolves complaints against immigration judges.
July 20, 2016
In a disappointing but unsurprising decision, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the federal government’s appeal of the preliminary injunction that has temporarily stopped President Obama’s latest deferred action initiatives from being implemented.
July 19, 2016
Immigration, civil rights and labor groups joined the legal effort to defend President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration by filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the case, State of Texas vs. United States.
July 10, 2016
The decision strongly reaffirms the importance of immigrants’ statutory right to file a motion to reopen, a procedural protection meant to ensure a proper and lawful outcome in an immigration proceeding.
September 11, 2020
It is not news that our nation is in an unprecedented moment where many of our democratic traditions and norms are being challenged. We have grown deeply concerned by the ongoing attacks on democracy that are unfolding before us.
August 27, 2020

Communication with the outside world is crucial for people in jail. This includes individuals facing deportation while detained in immigration detention centers, who do not have the right to court...

August 26, 2020
Individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Otero County Processing Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction to stop ICE from denying detained individuals the ability to contact their lawyers and the outside world by phone.
August 14, 2020
In the immigration context, Equal Access to Justice Act fees generally are available in petitions for review, mandamus actions, Administrative Procedure Act suits, habeas corpus actions, and naturalization actions.
This lawsuit was filed to stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement from denying detainees the ability to contact their lawyers and the outside world by phone.
August 13, 2020
This amicus brief in Niz-Chavez v. Barr urges the Supreme Court to reject the government’s practice of issuing notice of the time and place of a noncitizen’s removal proceedings in multiple documents over time, instead of in the initial Notice to Appear (NTA), as mandated by Congress.
August 12, 2020

Asylum seekers got a major win in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. In Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a...

August 4, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, immigration courts around the country remain in turmoil. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) initially...

August 4, 2020
The public has a right to know the safeguards that the government has in place to prevent the unnecessary illness and possible death of numerous individuals still reporting to work in immigration courts throughout the country.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration courts have frequently closed without explanation or notice to the public. This Freedom of Information Act request seeks records on the government's response.

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