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.

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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.

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...

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...

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

The Council filed a lawsuit to close the immigration courts and ensure due process.
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.
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...

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:...

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...

October 24, 2019
Media reports today indicate that the government has initiated a new pilot program in El Paso, Texas to rush the review of sensitive asylum cases. The reported program, called “Prompt Asylum Case Review,” forces families to navigate the asylum process while detained in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
October 11, 2019

People in immigration detention who are represented by an attorney are more likely to receive a positive outcome in immigration court than those that face judges alone. Unfortunately, people who...

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