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Government Shutdown Closes Immigration Courts Adding to Record-High 800,000 Case Backlog

CBS News reports that the partial federal government shutdown has closed most immigration courts. AILA Associate Director of Government Relations Kate Voigt said, “Holding the government hostage for a border wall isn’t going to do anything to make the country safer, but it will make the immigration courts worse.” The Washington PostEditorial Board noted the irony of “a president who conjures migrant no-shows in courts manag[ing] to close the courts entirely.

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.

A Defendant Shows Up in Immigration Court by Himself. He’s 6.

Wilder Maldonado, who was separated from his father at the border and is facing immigration proceedings alone. ICYMI, the LA Times Published Published an op-ed earlier this week by a former DOJ employee about why he resigned from his position at the Los Angeles immigration court. Gianfranco de Girolamo writes, “I couldn’t stand by, or be complicit in, a mean-spirited and unscrupulous campaign to undermine the everyday work of the Justice Department and the judges who serve in our immigration courts — a campaign that hurts many of my fellow immigrants in the process

Attorney General Sessions continues to take away due process of Immigrants

Matter of L‑A‑B‑R‑, which outlined when immigration judges (IJs) may grant continuances; Matter of Castro‑Tum, which limited IJs authority toadministratively close a case; and Matter of A‑B‑, which narrowed the criteria for demonstrating membership in a particular social group.

Sessions is trying to turn the Immigration Courts into puppet institutions that just deport people without regard to real representation.

Closing an Immigration Case

Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17 (BIA 2017)
(1) The primary consideration for an Immigration Judge in evaluating whether to administratively close or recalendar proceedings is whether the party opposing administrative closure has provided a persuasive reason for the case to proceed and be resolved on the merits. Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012), clarified.
(2) In considering administrative closure, an Immigration Judge cannot review whether an alien falls within the enforcement priorities of the Department of Homeland Security, which has exclusive jurisdiction over matters of prosecutorial discretion.

Court Finds Petitioner Who Voluntary Departed the U.S. Under Threat of Deportation Is Not Eligible for Cancellation of Removal

The Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that a failure to satisfy the warning requirements of 8 CFR §240.25 does not preclude a finding of voluntary departure under threat of deportation sufficient to break the 10-year period of continuous presence required to be eligible for cancellation of removal. The court thus found that the petitioner was not eligible for cancellation of removal under INA §240A(b), because he voluntary departed the United States under a threat of deportation in March 2001, thus breaking his continuous presence in the country.

Immigrant Children Entitled to Court Hearing

The Associated Press reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that two laws passed by Congress didn’t end the right to a bond hearing for unaccompanied immigrant children detained by federal authorities. The court said that immigrant children who cross the border without their parents have the right to a court hearing to challenge any decision to detain them instead of turning them over to family in the United States. The ruling is especially prescient since a reported tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing gang and drug violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have entered the United States in recent years.

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