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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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.
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 Immigration and Customs Enforement...

The Council, in collaboration with AILA, inter alia, urged EOIR to amend regulations pertaining to telephonic and video hearings (see page 4).

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 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.
Addressing access to counsel, effective assistance of counsel, protections for noncitizens lacking mental competency, the employment authorization employment clock, and the departure bar to motions to reopen.
May 1, 2019

President Trump is calling for new regulations that will target asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. These new rules would accelerate court hearings, limit options for relief, create...

April 16, 2019

The Trump administration has agreed to reverse course and begin the process of reuniting 2,700 children living in Central America with their parents in the United States. The decision comes as...

April 9, 2019

Asylum seekers are often imprisoned in immigration detention for weeks or months before they can ask a judge to release them, even though they’re entitled to bond hearings. But this injustice may...

April 3, 2019

Texas—and specifically El Paso—has been ground zero for many of the incredibly harmful policies introduced under the Trump administration, such as family separation, returning asylum seekers to...

March 21, 2019

Immigrants with even minor, dated criminal convictions will now be placed in mandatory detention without the possibility of a bond hearing—even if they have already served their time and been...

March 11, 2019

Many asylum seekers who travel to the United States seeking protection often receive something much less—they are arrested by immigration officials and provided no meaningful way to challenge...

February 28, 2019

The Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement tactics have made immigrants with final removal orders more vulnerable. That’s why it is more important than ever to have basic due process...

February 26, 2019

The Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers has been devastating, as vulnerable people are repeatedly denied access to the asylum process at ports of entry (POEs) along the U....

February 25, 2019

In some parts of the country, it has long been the practice for detained immigrants to appear for their immigration court hearings via video teleconference (“VTC”), rather than in-person. This is...

February 21, 2019

A FOIA request has forced the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to produce its comprehensive plan for reducing the immigration court backlog. Though partially redacted, the aim of the...

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.
July 7, 2016
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association commented on the decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the nearly 20-year-old Flores Settlement Agreement governs the custody and release of all immigrant children, and that the Obama Administration’s family detention practices violate that agreement.
July 6, 2016
he American Immigration Council (Immigration Council), represented by Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, today filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of additional documents related to the complaints process at United States Customs and Border Protection.
July 1, 2016
The U.S. Government has placed unnecessary hurdles in front of asylum seekers who are attempting to file asylum applications within the required time period.
June 27, 2016
A federal court has granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the federal government's failure to provide children in immigration court with lawyers in their deportation hearings. Several thousand children are estimated to be members of the class.
June 27, 2016
A federal district court unsealed some of the photographs central to ongoing litigation challenging deplorable and unconstitutional conditions in Border Patrol detention facilities in the agency’s Tucson Sector. The court also allowed the Arizona Republic newspaper to intervene in the case to argue for the release of the documents.
June 23, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v.

September 30, 2019

A federal judge blocked the expansion of a fast-track deportation program, known as “expedited removal,” minutes before the government said it would begin implementing its expansion on September...

September 28, 2019
A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that sought to massively expand fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney. The American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP sought the preliminary injunction, which was granted close to midnight on Friday by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
September 24, 2019

When Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the immigration courts faced a record backlog of over 542,000 cases. This month, the immigration court backlog hit a new historic high with over 1,...

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...

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