Federal Courts/Jurisdiction

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April 11, 2016
This guide provides brief answers to common questions about United States v. Texas, including what is at stake in the case, how the litigation began, what the contested issues are, and the impact the...
June 1, 2013

“Judicial review” refers to federal court review of an immigration agency decision. Some individuals whose immigration benefits applications are denied or who are ordered removed from the United...

October 24, 2012
This fact sheet provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe and subsequent efforts by states and localities to avoid compliance with the decision.
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...
March 1, 2015
By statute, noncitizens who have been ordered removed have the right to file one motion to reopen. 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(7)(A). In most cases, these statutory motions to reopen are subject to strict filing deadlines. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1229a(c)(7)(C)(i), (b)(5)(C)(i). However, as nine courts of appeals have recognized, the deadlines are subject to equitable tolling, a long-recognized principle through which courts can waive the application of certain non-jurisdictional statutes of limitations where a plaintiff was diligent but nonetheless unable to comply with the filing deadline. Several courts have also recognized that the numerical limitation on motions to reopen is subject to tolling. The Council continues to advocate in the remaining courts of appeals for recognition that that the motion to reopen deadlines are subject to equitable tolling and, with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers' Guild (NIPNLG), has filed amicus briefs in the Fourth, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.
January 21, 2014
The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) are seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents.
October 4, 2013
The Council, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), is seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents. In actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the government routinely moves to dismiss these cases on a variety of jurisdictional grounds, including by arguing that INA § 242(g) bars the court’s review of damages claims in any case involving removal procedures, and that a remedy under Bivens is not available in immigration-related actions. In essence, the government is attempting to deprive those who have been harmed by immigration agents of any remedy in federal court.
April 16, 2008
The Council filed an amicus brief arguing that the district court had jurisdiction over the denial of an asylee relative petition in a case brought under the Administrative Procedure Act. Case settled without a decision from the court.
February 13, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides a broad overview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including how to make a FOIA request and how to appeal an inadequate response. It discusses the...
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.
June 3, 2016
This Practice Advisory provides information to help practitioners assess whether filing suit in federal court is the right option for challenging an employment-based petition denial.
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 9, 2015
This Practice Advisory provides basic information about filing an immigration-related mandamus action in federal district court. It discusses the required elements of a successful mandamus action as well as jurisdictional concerns that may arise.
June 17, 2014
Litigants who are successful in their federal court cases against the government may be able to recover attorneys’ fees and costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project have reissued their Practice Advisory on EAJA. The Advisory discusses the statutory requirements for eligibility and other procedural and substantive aspects of filing a fee application under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).
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.
June 20, 2013
This Practice Advisory discusses the primary issues involved in a suit brought under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to challenge an unlawful agency action. The Advisory provides examples of how these issues have been decided in immigration cases and arguments that can be made to meet the various procedural requirements for an APA action.
April 29, 2013
A person who has been removed and unlawfully reenters the United States may be subject to reinstatement of removal under INA § 241(a)(5). This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the reinstatement statute and implementing regulations. It also addresses where to obtain federal court review of reinstatement orders and which arguments are available to challenge the legality of reinstatement orders in federal court, including challenges to the underlying removal order.
April 29, 2013
This Practice Advisory examines how the courts and the agencies apply the fugitive disentitlement doctrine which arises in the immigration context when courts of appeals use the doctrine to dismiss petitions for review and when government agencies invoke the doctrine to deny FOIA requests. This Practice Advisory examines how the courts and the agencies apply the doctrine in these contexts.
February 22, 2017

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the federal agency which includes the Border Patrol—are rarely held accountable for their actions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the...

February 10, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent some strong messages to the President: he cannot shield himself from court review by claiming “national security;” he may only set policies that are...

February 9, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the federal government’s emergency request to lift the temporary restraining order halting the implementation of President Trump’s travel ban.  The Court...

January 19, 2017

Determining when an immigrant who has been convicted of a crime can be deported is a feat that has been described by federal judges as “far from clear,” “dizzying,” and “labyrinthine.” There is no...

December 7, 2016

Unlike in criminal court, where those charged with a crime often hire bail bondsmen and consequently only have to pay 10 percent of the total bail amount, immigrants detained by Immigration and...

December 1, 2016

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in what may be the most important immigration case on its docket this fall, Jennings v. Rodriguez. The case, which began as a class action filed in...

November 29, 2016

A federal judge ordered the Border Patrol to immediately cease its practice of refusing to provide basic amenities to people detained in Border Patrol holding cells in Tucson, Arizona. The judge...

November 17, 2016

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Lynch v. Morales-Santana, a case that will decide whether the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) unlawfully favors mothers over fathers of...

October 27, 2016

Although the U.S. Constitution provides citizens and noncitizens the right to seek bail after an arrest, immigration detention is different. Certain noncitizens who are arrested by immigration...

October 6, 2016

In a decision late last week, the federal district court in the Northern District of Illinois invalidated the practice of issuing immigration detainers by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

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.
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 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.

February 22, 2017

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the federal agency which includes the Border Patrol—are rarely held accountable for their actions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the...

February 13, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides a broad overview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including how to make a FOIA request and how to appeal an inadequate response. It discusses the...
February 10, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent some strong messages to the President: he cannot shield himself from court review by claiming “national security;” he may only set policies that are...

February 9, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the federal government’s emergency request to lift the temporary restraining order halting the implementation of President Trump’s travel ban.  The Court...

January 19, 2017

Determining when an immigrant who has been convicted of a crime can be deported is a feat that has been described by federal judges as “far from clear,” “dizzying,” and “labyrinthine.” There is no...

December 7, 2016

Unlike in criminal court, where those charged with a crime often hire bail bondsmen and consequently only have to pay 10 percent of the total bail amount, immigrants detained by Immigration and...

December 1, 2016

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in what may be the most important immigration case on its docket this fall, Jennings v. Rodriguez. The case, which began as a class action filed in...

November 29, 2016

A federal judge ordered the Border Patrol to immediately cease its practice of refusing to provide basic amenities to people detained in Border Patrol holding cells in Tucson, Arizona. The judge...

November 17, 2016

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Lynch v. Morales-Santana, a case that will decide whether the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) unlawfully favors mothers over fathers of...

October 27, 2016

Although the U.S. Constitution provides citizens and noncitizens the right to seek bail after an arrest, immigration detention is different. Certain noncitizens who are arrested by immigration...

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