Right to Counsel

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September 28, 2016
Immigrants in immigration court do not have a right to government-appointed counsel. The lack of legal representation has a profound impact on immigrants’ outcomes in removal proceedings.
June 26, 2015
This Guide provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some travelling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern...
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...
May 14, 2012
How Gaps in ICE's Prosecutorial Discretion Policy Affect Immigrants Without Legal Representation While the Obama administration’s has expanded use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases,...
May 1, 2012
The report describes restrictions on access to legal counsel before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat DHS’s harmful practices. It also addresses changes...
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...
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.
May 25, 2017
This petition, jointly filed by the Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, seeks to provide access to legal counsel for the following individuals.
January 29, 2015
The Council submitted comments in response to a request by DHS and the Department of State (DOS) for input on streamlining and improving the U.S. immigrant and nonimmigrant visa systems. In the comments, the Council recommended that DHS amend 8 C.F.R. § 292.5(b) to ensure that individuals in secondary inspection are provided with a regulatory right to counsel during their examinations, and that DOS promulgate regulations in 22 C.F.R. Part 40 to provide for meaningful access to counsel during interviews at consular posts.
October 1, 2014
The synopsis provides a summary of CBP policies related to access to counsel, based on documents obtained through the Council’s FOIA request and litigation. The summary addresses access to counsel in inspections and CBP detention, and policies on advisals of rights and the treatment of children.
This lawsuits seeks recognition of a right to appointed counsel for unrepresented children in immigration proceedings nationwide.
February 14, 2012
The Council and AILA submitted comments on the USCIS Interim Memo “The Role of Private Attorneys and Other Representatives; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapters 12 and 15; AFM Update AD11-42.” The comments recommended, among other things, that USCIS take additional steps to clarify the role of attorneys and the treatment of attorneys’ written submissions; to address continued limitations on attorney seating; to expand the requirements related to waivers of representation; and to improve the complaint process.
The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel.
August 8, 2011
In this letter, the Council and AILA urged ICE to address reports of restrictions on access to counsel in a range of interview settings. These restrictions, documented in a nation-wide survey of immigration attorneys, included complete bars to attorney presence during ICE interviews and limits on participation when attorneys are permitted to be present. Attorneys also reported that ICE officers often were antagonistic toward attorneys.
June 14, 2011
The Council and AILA provided recommendations for changes to the USCIS Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM) to better safeguard the attorney's role in USCIS interviews. These recommendations were in response to a request from USCIS to present specific recommendations for changes to USCIS guidance on access to counsel.
The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel.
August 10, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument on Tuesday in C.J.L.G. v. Sessions – a case that raises grave due process concerns for indigent immigrant children. At issue is whether an...

July 27, 2017

The recent trend of broadly labeling unaccompanied immigrant children as criminals and gang members is just the latest in a series of attacks on some of the most vulnerable individuals in the U.S...

July 7, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a strong rebuke to the government’s years-long effort to strip detained immigrant children of the right to a bond hearing in immigration court. The 3-0...

June 6, 2017

Recent deaths at immigration detention centers in Georgia have made one fact disturbingly clear: detainees’ rights are being violated, with life and death consequences. These tragedies are not...

June 2, 2017

Since the reintroduction of family detention under the Obama administration, abuse of the mothers and children held in these facilities has run rampant. The family detention scheme has grown...

May 25, 2017

When the White House issued its first Muslim travel ban, reports of noncitizens and citizens being held in airports’ secondary detention swirled. Individuals were being held for hours at a time...

September 29, 2016

In 2014, a legal challenge was mounted against the federal government for its failure to provide legal representation to indigent children in deportation proceedings. The case, F.L.B.. v. Lynch...

September 28, 2016

Nationally, only 37 percent of all immigrants had legal representation, and only 14 percent of immigrants in detention had a lawyer. In a paper issued today, Access to Counsel in Immigration Court...

June 28, 2016

Last week, a federal court certified a class in a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s failure to provide legal representation to children in deportation proceedings. Several thousand...

March 25, 2016

A federal district court in Seattle heard arguments in a lawsuit on Thursday seeking to ensure that all children in immigration court have legal representation. The case received a flurry of...

August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
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.
September 30, 2015

Today, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), the American Immigration Council, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the American Immigration Lawyers As

July 9, 2014
The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government's failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.
April 12, 2013

Court Says ICE Failed to Satisfy FOIA Requirements in Council’s Suit to Compel
Disclosure of Records on Access to Counsel

November 29, 2012

This week, a federal district court issued an opinion highly critical

November 2, 2012

Challenging Matter of E-R-M-F- & A-S-M-:
Warrantless Arrests and the Timing of Right to Counsel Advisals

January 19, 2012

Washington D.C. – During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration age

August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
August 10, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument on Tuesday in C.J.L.G. v. Sessions – a case that raises grave due process concerns for indigent immigrant children. At issue is whether an...

July 27, 2017

The recent trend of broadly labeling unaccompanied immigrant children as criminals and gang members is just the latest in a series of attacks on some of the most vulnerable individuals in the U.S...

July 7, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a strong rebuke to the government’s years-long effort to strip detained immigrant children of the right to a bond hearing in immigration court. The 3-0...

June 6, 2017

Recent deaths at immigration detention centers in Georgia have made one fact disturbingly clear: detainees’ rights are being violated, with life and death consequences. These tragedies are not...

June 2, 2017

Since the reintroduction of family detention under the Obama administration, abuse of the mothers and children held in these facilities has run rampant. The family detention scheme has grown...

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.
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.
May 25, 2017

When the White House issued its first Muslim travel ban, reports of noncitizens and citizens being held in airports’ secondary detention swirled. Individuals were being held for hours at a time...

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.

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