Right to Counsel

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.

Recent Features

All Right to Counsel Content

Publication Date: 
November 29, 2021
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
Publication Date: 
June 8, 2021
The Council expressed concerns about the Biden administration's plans for a new type of expedited asylum proceedings.
Publication Date: 
February 26, 2021
This fact sheet draws from original data gathered from hundreds of community-organizations around the country and provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate...
Publication Date: 
September 6, 2018
The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) offers legal education, as well as referrals for free and low-cost legal counsel, to noncitizens in immigration detention.
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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.
Publication Date: 
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...
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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: 
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,...
Publication Date: 
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...
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...
November 2, 2022

The American Immigration Council joined a team of nonprofits across the country to write a letter to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Robin Dunn Marcos to express concern over lack of...

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.
This lawsuit challenges ICE's policies that have made it extremely difficult—and in many cases impossible—for people in immigration detention to access their attorneys.
This FOIA suit seeks to compel ICE to release information about conditions, treatment, and outcomes in eight immigration detention facilities in the U.S. South.
September 25, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, through their joint initiative, the Immigration Justice Campaign, submitted this comment in opposition to...

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.
The Council filed a lawsuit to close the immigration courts and ensure due process.
January 31, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted an amicus brief in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center v. Wolf, a case filed by the American...

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:...

October 13, 2022

Legal service organizations have sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for preventing people jailed at four immigration detention centers from having meaningful access to their...

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...

February 26, 2021

The stakes in immigration court could not be higher—many people face the possibility of being permanently torn away from their families and communities in the United States. Others seeking...

October 28, 2020

Once a year, National Pro Bono Week celebrates the pro bono work of lawyers, paralegals, and law students. Pro bono legal services—which come at no cost—are integral for many people otherwise left...

August 27, 2020

Communication with the outside world is crucial for people in jail. This includes individuals facing deportation while detained in immigration detention centers, who do not have the right to court...

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...

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...

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...

May 9, 2022
The Council and AILA stand in support of the Texas State Bar Foundation in response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s investigation of the Foundation for supporting organizations that provide legal representation, citizenship classes, and other legal needs to the immigrant community in Texas.
August 17, 2021
As the Biden administration begins crafting next year's budget, 131 organizations published a statement for the Biden administration outlining the top immigration priorities that must be included in the country’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
March 1, 2021
A new publication provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.
September 11, 2020
It is not news that our nation is in an unprecedented moment where many of our democratic traditions and norms are being challenged. We have grown deeply concerned by the ongoing attacks on democracy that are unfolding before us.
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.
June 5, 2020
The American Immigration Council has named experienced attorney and litigator Kate Melloy Goettel to be its legal director of litigation.
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.
November 2, 2022

The American Immigration Council joined a team of nonprofits across the country to write a letter to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Robin Dunn Marcos to express concern over lack of...

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.
This lawsuit challenges ICE's policies that have made it extremely difficult—and in many cases impossible—for people in immigration detention to access their attorneys.
October 13, 2022

Legal service organizations have sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for preventing people jailed at four immigration detention centers from having meaningful access to their...

Publication Date: 
May 26, 2022
The Council submitted a comment urging the Biden administration to reconsider the expedited timeframe in the interim final rule that will significantly hinder asylum seeker access to due process.
May 9, 2022
The Council and AILA stand in support of the Texas State Bar Foundation in response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s investigation of the Foundation for supporting organizations that provide legal representation, citizenship classes, and other legal needs to the immigrant community in Texas.
Publication Date: 
November 29, 2021
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
Publication Date: 
November 18, 2021
The American Immigration Council joined a coalition letter asking Congress to support funding for appointed counsel for immigration proceedings for Fiscal Year 2022.
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...

This FOIA suit seeks to compel ICE to release information about conditions, treatment, and outcomes in eight immigration detention facilities in the U.S. South.

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