Due Process and the Courts

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

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March 25, 2010
Years before the U.S. Supreme Court ended racial segregation in U.S. schools with Brown v. Board of Education, a federal circuit court in California ruled that segregation of school children...
September 1, 2006
Access to an independent judiciary with the power to hold the government accountable in its dealings with individuals is a founding principle of the United States. In contrast, imagine a system...
December 1, 2003
Children who travel unaccompanied to the United States experience not only the trauma of family separation and the frequently predatory behavior of the traffickers who bring them, but also harsh...
September 24, 2018
This amicus brief discusses how Sessions’ public statements indicate prejudgment about the use of continuances and explains how Sessions’ use of the referral authority suggests that he is choosing to refer cases to himself to achieve predetermined political and policymaking goals.
This case challenges the punitive practice of keeping asylum seekers in custody for weeks or months without access to credible fear interviews or bond hearings and the lack of basic procedural protections—like hearing transcripts and written decisions—in bond hearings, as well as whether asylum seekers must bear the burden of proof in bond proceedings.

With the end of prosecutorial discretion under the Trump administration, noncitizens living in the United States with a removal order face quick, and almost certain deportation unless they have...

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)—the...

April 18, 2018
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the nation's immigration courts, due process, and the importance of a truly fair day in court.
April 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration for an April 18, 2018 hearing on “Strengthening and Reforming...

February 19, 2018
In the case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself questions related to administrative closure. This move by Sessions could signal an attempt to end administrative closure altogether—which could force over 350,000 immigrants back into immigration court, exacerbating the challenges of an already overburdened immigration court system.
This lawsuit challenges the actions of immigration judges in Charlotte, North Carolina who have refused to conduct bond hearings for people who properly file bond motions with the Charlotte Immigration Court.
November 1, 2017
The statement addresses immigration court backlogs, the detailing of immigration judges to border facilities, detention policies, asylum-free zones, unaccompanied alien child definitions, and other challenges that are currently undermining due process within the immigration courts.
This case stems from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) decision to bar Caroline Perris, a full-time legal assistant with the Dilley Pro Bono Project (DPBP), from entering the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
September 26, 2016
This Practice Advisory discusses whether and how a person can get review of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision in federal court if he or she did not appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The Advisory addresses the Supreme Court case Darby v. Cisneros, holding that a plaintiff is not required to exhaust non-mandatory administrative remedies in certain situations, and how it may apply to cases involving appeals to the AAO.
September 14, 2016

This Practice Tip demystifies mandamus by explaining how and when to ask a court for this remedy when a client has been waiting too long for USCIS to make a decision.

December 1, 2015
The immigration courts’ unprecedented backlogs are creating procedural and substantive challenges for attorneys trying to comply with the One-Year Filing Deadline (OYFD) in asylum cases. This Practice Advisory discusses strategies and procedures for complying with the OYFD.
November 9, 2015
Noncitizens may file a petition for review in the court of appeals to seek judicial review of a final removal order. This Practice Advisory addresses the procedures and general requirements for filing and litigating a petition for review.
November 6, 2015

This Practice Advisory provides basic information about mandamus actions and suggests strategies and practice tips for bringing a mandamus action against the Department of Labor (DOL).

October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
February 5, 2014
The American Immigration Council’s Practice Advisory, Employment Authorization and Asylum: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock, has been updated to reflect extensive changes to the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

October 23, 2013
Section 336(b) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b), gives a district court jurisdiction to intervene in a case where USCIS has failed to make a decision on the naturalization application within 120 days of the applicant’s “examination” by USCIS. This Practice Advisory discusses the nuts and bolts of bringing a suit under INA § 336(b). It also discusses when attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act are available.
February 13, 2020

A federal judge in Arizona reversed convictions of four volunteers of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths last week. No More Deaths is an Arizona-based group that works to end death and...

February 12, 2020

A federal district court stopped U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from drastically changing how the agency determines when a foreign student or exchange visitor is “unlawfully...

February 4, 2020

In U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, asylum seekers are detained in horribly cold and overcrowded facilities, unable to sleep, without access to food, water, or adequate medical...

January 30, 2020

A congressional oversight committee held a hearing this week on the need for immigration court reform and the systemic due process challenges within the immigration court system. The House...

January 21, 2020

The Trump administration received an unfortunate victory in the case against their family separation policy. On January 13, 2020, Federal Judge Dana Sabraw sided with the government in a lawsuit...

January 17, 2020

Asylum seekers subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols—or the “Remain in Mexico” program—in Laredo and Brownsville, Texas attend their court hearings in tents known as “port courts.” The...

December 5, 2019

Attorney General Sessions’ orders to prioritize prosecuting people for immigration-related offenses in 2017 and 2018 put a significant strain on law enforcement across the border, diverting...

December 3, 2019

Every year, thousands of people are forced to face the complex deportation system without an attorney representing them. Now, the immigration courts are seeking to limit the assistance that these...

November 18, 2019

Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain...

November 15, 2019

A federal court ruled this week that sweeping policies permitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search personal cell phones,...

August 6, 2019
The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s new rule that massively expands fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney.
July 22, 2019
A federal appeals court ruled that asylum seekers must continue to receive bond hearings while the court considers the Trump administration’s appeal to deny bond hearings with procedural protections to asylum seekers.
July 22, 2019
Expanding expedited removal in this manner will create a 'show me your papers' regime of immigration enforcement where individuals—including any U.S. citizens they encounter—will be forced to prove they should not be deported. The American Immigration Council will not stand by idly as the Trump administration continues its unlawful attacks on our communities. We will see the Trump administration in court
July 19, 2019
The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Immigrant Defense Project filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court to compel the government to release records and data about the Department of Justice’s Institutional Hearing Program, an obscure program that expedites the deportation of immigrants who are serving time for criminal offenses. The lawsuit seeks to understand how the IHP operates, where it operates, and who it targets.
July 2, 2019
A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum-seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targeted asylum-seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled. The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and American Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy with the lawsuit Padilla v. ICE.
June 19, 2019
A class action lawsuit challenges the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies’ nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for immigration files under the Freedom of Information Act.
May 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and The American Civil Liberties Union, filed a proposed amended complaint in federal court today in order to challenge the Trump administration’s new policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targets asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.
April 16, 2019
In a decision today, Attorney General William Barr ruled that individuals with valid protection asylum claims who entered between ports of entry no longer are eligible for release on bond by an immigration judge. The decision could result in the unnecessary detention of thousands more individuals each year, despite the enormous financial and human costs. With the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the ACLU, the American Immigration Council intends to challenge the new decision.
April 5, 2019
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge in Seattle dealt a blow to the government’s campaign to deter and obstruct asylum seekers applying for protection in the United States. Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government to provide certain individuals with bona fide asylum claims either a bond hearing before an immigration judge within seven days of their request or to release them from detention.
April 3, 2019
The complaint demands an immediate investigation into systemic due process concerns at the El Paso Service Processing Center (SPC) immigration court in El Paso, Texas.
June 23, 2020
A federal appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s policy that sought to massively expand fast-track deportations without a fair legal process can continue. The court held that the lawsuit was properly brought, but rejected the claim that the administration had failed to follow the procedures provided under the Administrative Procedure Act.
June 9, 2020

With 1.2 million cases pending in immigration court, transparency into how the courts are run is more important than ever. Unlike traditional courts where records are public, the only way to get...

June 5, 2020
The American Immigration Council has named experienced attorney and litigator Kate Melloy Goettel to be its legal director of litigation.
June 4, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court found on Monday that federal courts have the authority to review certain claims from people who are seeking protection from torture. The case, Nasrallah v. Barr, is about...

May 28, 2020

The Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) hiring process for immigration appellate judges was recently revealed. Now, the integrity of the immigration court system has never been more in question....

May 28, 2020
This Practice Advisory addresses who is, or who may be, the proper respondent-defendant and recipient for service of process in immigration-related litigation in district court.
May 27, 2020
The American Immigration Council's latest report examines major changes to the U.S. immigration system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges the pandemic has created for noncitizens and government agencies.
May 12, 2020

The U.S. government rejects an immigrant’s entire application for a visa or immigration benefit over a single blank field on a form. Applications can be rejected if a box is left unchecked or has...

May 4, 2020

A free phone call can mean the difference between a fair day in court and being deported to harm—or worse—for individuals held in immigration detention centers. Immigrants may not be able to meet...

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