Immigration Courts

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Publication Date: 
May 16, 2016

Over the past few years, thousands of children—many fleeing horrific levels of violence in Central America—have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most children are placed in...

Publication Date: 
July 29, 2014
As the number of unaccompanied children arriving at the United States border has increased, some lawmakers have argued that children frequently fail to appear for proceedings and thus proposed...
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May 15, 2013
Our legal system rests upon the principle that everyone is entitled to due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But for far too long, immigration courts have failed to provide...
Publication Date: 
June 11, 2012
In August 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would review more than 300,000 pending removal proceedings to identify low-priority cases meriting favorable exercises of...
Publication Date: 
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...
Publication Date: 
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...
Public information about the location and expansion of these courts and centers is critically important.
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
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.
The Council filed a lawsuit to close the immigration courts and ensure due process.

The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) seeking information relating to the expansion and...

January 29, 2020

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship for a January 29, 2020, hearing on "Courts in Crisis:...

This FOIA lawsuit sought information from the EOIR on the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP), which it runs jointly with ICE and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
April 3, 2019

This complaint highlights systemic due process violations that are undermining justice for detained immigrants called before judges at the El Paso Service Processing Center (SPC) Immigration Court...

Publication Date: 
September 10, 2018
This Practice Advisory provides a practitioner-focused overview of motions to continue a case in removal proceedings, from the basics of making the motion to advanced issues of jurisdictional bars to appellate review of continuances.
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December 20, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses when the voluntary departure period runs and the events that cause automatic termination of a voluntary departure order; the serious consequences that result from failing to depart; and when these consequences do not apply.
Publication Date: 
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides a general overview of motions to suppress, a tool used to prevent the introduction of evidence obtained by federal immigration officers in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and related provisions of federal law.
Publication Date: 
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained through constitutional violations by state and local officers seeking to enforce immigration law.
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August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings seek to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained by Customs and Border Protection officers.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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).
Publication Date: 
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.

Publication Date: 
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.
April 21, 2022

More than two years after visiting the Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP) tent courts in Laredo, Texas, I returned to see how they had changed under the Biden...

April 7, 2022

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a long-awaited memo on Sunday to guide ICE attorneys on exercising their prosecutorial discretion in immigration court. Authored by ICE’s...

February 15, 2022

Immigrants and their representatives will gain access to decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that were not publicly available. As a result of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the...

February 3, 2022

Immigration courts will soon take a big step into the digital age. On February 11, 2022, immigration attorneys, accredited representatives, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lawyers, will...

January 20, 2022

When the Biden administration announced a new “dedicated docket” in immigration court for families seeking asylum at the border, many advocates raised concerns that the docket would forgo due...

December 17, 2021

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued a memorandum last month providing guidance to immigration judges about administrative closure—a critical tool for docket management and...

November 11, 2021

Research has long shown that access to a lawyer is one of the most important factors that determines whether an immigrant in removal proceedings will be able to remain in the United States. A new...

September 2, 2021

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law in August that would allow the Cook County Public Defender to represent immigrants in the Chicago immigration court. The law is part of a movement to...

July 16, 2021

Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated Matter of Castro-Tum on July 15, reviving a key tool to help judges prioritize cases in the overburdened immigration court system and allow people facing...

June 9, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) issued a new memorandum on May 27 that provides guidance on how its attorneys can and should exercise...

October 30, 2020
A lawsuit filed against the EOIR—which oversees immigration courts—and the GSA seeks information on the expansion and creation of immigration adjudication centers, which were established as part of EOIR’s Strategic Caseload Reduction plan designed to accelerate removal proceedings at the expense of due process.
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 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.
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 4, 2020
The American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council released documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act litigation revealing the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review’s updated hiring plan for immigration judges and appellate immigration judges.
April 28, 2020
Today’s Court decision denying the emergency temporary restraining order in NIPNLG, et al., v. EOIR, et al., is deeply disappointing. This lawsuit was brought against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 8, 2020
Immigration groups moved for an emergency temporary restraining order against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 30, 2020
This lawsuit demands the government take immediate actions to prioritize the health and safety of attorneys and clients at risk in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 23, 2020
In a letter calling for prioritizing the health and safety of government employees, detained individuals, and their legal representatives amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, together with the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 100 other organizations, urged the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings.
March 19, 2020
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court to compel the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy to release records about the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s hiring procedures for appellate immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals Members. The lawsuit seeks to understand current hiring procedures for the BIA—the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws—after reports came to light of anti-immigrant bias in the hiring process.
Last modified: 
April 17, 2023
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
This practice advisory explains 1) the ways to submit a FOIA request for a client’s immigration records, or A-File, 2) provides suggestions for avoiding agency rejections of the requests, and 3) identifies issues related to the Nightingale injunction that class counsel are monitoring.
Last modified: 
April 14, 2023
Publication Date: 
March 23, 2023
In this amicus brief the Council urges the Supreme Court to correct the BIA's mistake in not applying that criminal "rule of lenity" when interpreting the aggravated felony deportation ground.
Last modified: 
December 13, 2022
Publication Date: 
December 13, 2022
Our comprehensive guide on obtaining detention records provides a brief overview of FOIA requirements, information about the types of records government agencies possess, tips about how to request those records, and an overview of what to expect after submitting the request.
Last modified: 
November 24, 2022
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2022
This Practice Advisory provides information for filing a delay action in federal district court under the Mandamus Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for an asylum applicant who is awaiting an interview or a final decision on their affirmative asylum claim. It discusses the required elements of a successful APA and mandamus actions and jurisdictional hurdles. The advisory also addresses asylum-specific case law and arguments, including USCIS’s use of the “Last-In, First-Out” processing and statistics showing the growing asylum backlog.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks records from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) about its practice of moving up the date of immigrants’ individual hearings with little to no notice to their lawyers.
October 13, 2022
Several legal services organizations filed a lawsuit today against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for unlawfully preventing attorneys from communicating with immigrants detained in four detention facilities in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona.
March 25, 2024

The Supreme Court issued an important victory for noncitizens seeking cancellation of removal and the principle of judicial review of agency action on March 19. And despite the current court’s...

January 31, 2024

Immigrants are now far more likely to face the complexities of the immigration court system alone, without an attorney. As of December 2023, only 30% of immigrants with pending cases have secured...

January 18, 2024

A new memo issued last month by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) lays out improved guidelines for immigration court cases involving children. The memo is a welcome acknowledgment...

September 28, 2023

After weeks of failed negotiations on spending, Congress has less than a week left to avert a potential government shutdown. Members of the House Republicans’ Freedom Caucus have refused to pass...

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