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NAIJ Submits Motion to File Amicus Brief in Lawsuit Against ICE and EOIR for Handling of Immigration Cases During COVID-19 Crisis

The National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) submitted a motion to file an amicus brief in NIPNLG, et. al. v. EOIR, et. al., a case filed by AILA, the Immigration Justice Campaign, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), and several detained individuals challenging EOIR’s operation of in-person immigration court hearings and ICE’s conditions of confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Law360 reports that, according to the NAIJ, more than half of the immigration courts nationwide have so far reported contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients or contact with individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Plaintiffs also submitted a supplemental brief in support of their emergency motion for a temporary restraining order in the case.

Immigration judges have said court records are often incorrect or missing.

Last week, Syracuse University published findings that millions of records are missing from public reports, and that the objective data does not match DOJ reports. These inconsistencies include incorrectly formatted documents leading to unreadable data and millions of records disappearing between the EOIR’s own record releases. The immigration judges union supported the university’s claims, saying that the records do conflict with their experiences.

EOIR Releases Two Memos Related to Case Priorities and Performance Measures

EOIR supplemented its January 17, 2018, memo, Case Priorities and Immigration Court Performance Measures by announcing the tracking and expedition of “family unit” cases at ten immigration court locations. EOIR further supplemented the January memo by heightening the bar for overcoming a 180-day adjudication window, stating that for an immigration judge to grant a continuance resulting in an asylum case taking longer than 180 days to adjudicate, a respondent must satisfy the good-cause standard and show exceptional circumstances.

EOIR Hotline Once Again Includes Names of Immigration Judges

EOIR is once again including the names of immigration judges on its automated case status hotline, reversing course following complaints over the names being removed from the system in March 2018.

Association of Immigration Judges Asserts that Performance Quotas are a Threat to Due Process

The National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) stated that it opposes EOIR’s plan to evaluate immigration judges (IJs) using numerical measures such as performance quotas, stating that “If EOIR is successful in tying case completion quotas to judge performance evaluations, it could be the death knell for judicial independence in the Immigration Courts.” NAIJ also submitted a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing on the DOJ urging Congress to exempt IJs from performance reviews, noting Administrative Law Judges are already exempt because quotas are “antithetical to judicial independence.”  Another attempt by Trump to limit constitutional rights of immigrants

EOIR Issues Memorandum on Continuances

In a memorandum dated July 31, 2017, Chief Immigration Judge MaryBeth Keller reminds Immigration Judges that in all situations in which a continuance is granted at a hearing, they must make the reason(s) for the adjournment clear on the record by stating the reasons orally or by setting forth in writing the reason(s) in an order. Further, the memo states that “it is critically important that Immigration Judges use continuances appropriately and only where warranted for good cause or by authority established by case law.”

Thus, continuances are harder to obtain now in Immigration Court

ICE on Fingerprints

ICE provided FAQs on an agreement between USCIS and ICE that establishes a process for updating fingerprint checks on non-detained respondents with cases pending before EOIR whose fingerprints have been taken, but whose fingerprint checks will expire prior to a final decision by EOIR (i.e., the checks are more than 15 months old).

New EOIR General Counsel

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced the appointment of Jean King to serve as the agency’s next general counsel, effective September 6, 2015. In addition to serving as the EOIR’s acting general counsel for eight months earlier this year, Ms. King has been the deputy general counsel for the agency since December 2012.

Got a Cell Phone in Immigration Court?

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued a security directive prohibiting use by the public of electronic devices, including cell phones, cameras, laptops, tablets, and MP3 players, in EOIR space, encompassing courtrooms, entrances/exits, corridors, conference rooms, and waiting areas. Attorneys or representatives of record, active members of a State Bar, and DHS attorneys representing the government in proceedings before the EOIR are permitted to use electronic devices in EOIR space for the limited purpose of conducting relevant court or business activities.

Size of Board of Immigration Appeals is getting bigger

EOIR issued an interim rule with a request for comments amending the DOJ regulations relating to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) by adding two Board member positions, expanding the BIA to 17 members. This rule is effective today. Comments must be submitted by August 3, 2015.

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