Due Process and the Courts

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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 17, 2016
Backlogs and delays benefit neither immigrants nor the government—keeping those with valid claims in limbo and often in detention, delaying removal of those without valid claims, and calling into...
May 16, 2016

Over the past few years, thousands of children—many fleeing horrific levels of violence in Central America—have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most children are placed in...

April 11, 2016
This guide provides brief answers to common questions about United States v. Texas, including what is at stake in the case, how the litigation began, what the contested issues are, and the impact the...
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...
July 29, 2014
As the number of unaccompanied children arriving at the United States border has increased, some lawmakers have argued that children frequently fail to appear for proceedings and thus proposed...
June 1, 2013

“Judicial review” refers to federal court review of an immigration agency decision. Some individuals whose immigration benefits applications are denied or who are ordered removed from the United...

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...
March 19, 2013
There is a growing consensus that our immigration system must be updated. Severe visa backlogs hurt U.S. businesses, undocumented workers are frequently exploited, and record levels of deportations...
October 24, 2012
This fact sheet provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe and subsequent efforts by states and localities to avoid compliance with the decision.
This lawsuit challenges obstacles faced by asylum-seekers in satisfying the statutory requirement that they apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States.
August 17, 2015
The Council submitted an amicus brief arguing that immigration judges’ duty to develop the record is particularly important in pro se litigants’ cases, and that this duty requires immigration judges to provide noncitizens with information about the types of relief they are seeking and to actively elicit relevant information. For more information about this topic, contact the Council's legal department.
April 16, 2015
The Council and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild submitted an amicus brief in support of rehearing addressing immigration judges’ duty, in pro se cases, to fully inform litigants of the consequences of their legal decisions and to ensure that any waivers of appeal are knowing and intelligent. The Ninth Circuit denied the petition for rehearing in a non-precedent decision. For more information on this topic, contact the Council's legal department.
March 1, 2015
By statute, noncitizens who have been ordered removed have the right to file one motion to reopen. 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(7)(A). In most cases, these statutory motions to reopen are subject to strict filing deadlines. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1229a(c)(7)(C)(i), (b)(5)(C)(i). However, as nine courts of appeals have recognized, the deadlines are subject to equitable tolling, a long-recognized principle through which courts can waive the application of certain non-jurisdictional statutes of limitations where a plaintiff was diligent but nonetheless unable to comply with the filing deadline. Several courts have also recognized that the numerical limitation on motions to reopen is subject to tolling. The Council continues to advocate in the remaining courts of appeals for recognition that that the motion to reopen deadlines are subject to equitable tolling and, with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers' Guild (NIPNLG), has filed amicus briefs in the Fourth, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.
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.
March 21, 2014
Noncitizens facing removal must have a meaningful opportunity to present their cases to an immigration judge. On occasion, noncitizens are deprived of this opportunity due to their lawyers’ incompetence or mistake. Although the government has recognized the need for a remedy for ineffective assistance of counsel, see Matter of Lozada, 19 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 1988), the framework currently used to evaluate whether ineffective assistance has occurred is severely flawed. The Council has long worked to protect the right to effective assistance of counsel for noncitizens in removal proceedings.
January 21, 2014
The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) are seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents.
January 3, 2014
Long used in criminal trials, motions to suppress can lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained by the government in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, or related provisions of federal law. While the immediate purpose of filing a motion to suppress is to prevent the government from meeting its burden of proof, challenges to unlawfully obtained evidence can also deter future violations by law enforcement officers and thereby protect the rights of other noncitizens. The Supreme Court held in INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984), that motions to suppress evidence under the Fourth Amendment in immigration proceedings should be granted only for “egregious” violations or if violations became “widespread.” Despite this stringent standard, noncitizens have prevailed in many cases on motions to suppress.
October 31, 2016
This Practice Advisory provides a broad overview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including how to make a FOIA request and how to appeal an inadequate response. It discusses the...
September 26, 2016
This Practice Advisory discusses whether and how a person can get review of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision in federal court if he or she did not appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The Advisory addresses the Supreme Court case Darby v. Cisneros, holding that a plaintiff is not required to exhaust non-mandatory administrative remedies in certain situations, and how it may apply to cases involving appeals to the AAO.
June 3, 2016
This Practice Advisory provides information to help practitioners assess whether filing suit in federal court is the right option for challenging an employment-based petition denial.
December 1, 2015
The immigration courts’ unprecedented backlogs are creating procedural and substantive challenges for attorneys trying to comply with the One-Year Filing Deadline (OYFD) in asylum cases. This Practice Advisory discusses strategies and procedures for complying with the OYFD.
November 9, 2015
Noncitizens may file a petition for review in the court of appeals to seek judicial review of a final removal order. This Practice Advisory addresses the procedures and general requirements for filing and litigating a petition for review.
November 9, 2015
This Practice Advisory provides basic information about filing an immigration-related mandamus action in federal district court. It discusses the required elements of a successful mandamus action as well as jurisdictional concerns that may arise.
November 6, 2015

This Practice Advisory provides basic information about mandamus actions and suggests strategies and practice tips for bringing a mandamus action against the Department of Labor (DOL).

June 17, 2014
Litigants who are successful in their federal court cases against the government may be able to recover attorneys’ fees and costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project have reissued their Practice Advisory on EAJA. The Advisory discusses the statutory requirements for eligibility and other procedural and substantive aspects of filing a fee application under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).
June 1, 2014
This Practice Advisory, written in collaboration with the ABA Commission on Immigration and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights, provides innovative legal and procedural arguments and strategies for attorneys representing noncitizens 1) who are likely to be issued NTAs, 2) who have been issued NTAs that have not been filed with the immigration court, or 3) who have been issued NTAs that have been filed. It provides an overview of the legal requirements for an NTA and strategies available to attorneys to cancel, mitigate, or challenge the contents of an NTA. In addition to presenting legal and procedural arguments, the Advisory provides strategies to attorneys wishing to seek prosecutorial discretion in connection with the NTA.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

January 19, 2017

Determining when an immigrant who has been convicted of a crime can be deported is a feat that has been described by federal judges as “far from clear,” “dizzying,” and “labyrinthine.” There is no...

January 12, 2017

Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to be Attorney General by President-elect Donald Trump, endured a 10-and-a-half-hour confirmation hearing this week where he answered questions on a...

December 20, 2016

Entire jurisdictions in the United States have become so hostile to asylum seekers and their representatives that the U.S. government, and its immigration court system, is failing to deliver on...

December 7, 2016

Unlike in criminal court, where those charged with a crime often hire bail bondsmen and consequently only have to pay 10 percent of the total bail amount, immigrants detained by Immigration and...

December 1, 2016

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in what may be the most important immigration case on its docket this fall, Jennings v. Rodriguez. The case, which began as a class action filed in...

November 29, 2016

A federal judge ordered the Border Patrol to immediately cease its practice of refusing to provide basic amenities to people detained in Border Patrol holding cells in Tucson, Arizona. The judge...

November 18, 2016
Senator Sessions has led the fight against immigration reform at every turn during his 20 years in the Senate.
November 17, 2016

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Lynch v. Morales-Santana, a case that will decide whether the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) unlawfully favors mothers over fathers of...

November 16, 2016

For more than a decade, the immigration court system has struggled with an enormous backlog. The latest figures from  (TRAC) record the backlog at an all-time high of 521,676 as of the end of...

October 27, 2016

Although the U.S. Constitution provides citizens and noncitizens the right to seek bail after an arrest, immigration detention is different. Certain noncitizens who are arrested by immigration...

January 12, 2017
A federal court in Seattle has granted nationwide class action status to a case seeking to protect the rights of thousands of asylum seekers pursuing protection from persecution in their home countries.
November 18, 2016
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to serve as Attorney General in President-Elect Trump’s new administration. The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
October 5, 2016
In accordance with a settlement reached by the parties, a federal district court dismissed a class action lawsuit which challenged U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for case information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
September 20, 2016
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Dobrin & Han, PC, American Immigration Council, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild commend the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) for reversing course and now allowing asylum applicants to file their applications by mail or in person at an immigration court window.
August 1, 2016
An appellate court has ruled for an immigration group in a lawsuit against the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) challenging its response to a request for information regarding alleged misconduct by immigration judges and records that would reveal whether the agency adequately investigates and resolves complaints against immigration judges.
July 20, 2016
In a disappointing but unsurprising decision, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the federal government’s appeal of the preliminary injunction that has temporarily stopped President Obama’s latest deferred action initiatives from being implemented.
July 19, 2016
Immigration, civil rights and labor groups joined the legal effort to defend President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration by filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the case, State of Texas vs. United States.
July 10, 2016
The decision strongly reaffirms the importance of immigrants’ statutory right to file a motion to reopen, a procedural protection meant to ensure a proper and lawful outcome in an immigration proceeding.
July 7, 2016
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association commented on the decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the nearly 20-year-old Flores Settlement Agreement governs the custody and release of all immigrant children, and that the Obama Administration’s family detention practices violate that agreement.
July 6, 2016
he American Immigration Council (Immigration Council), represented by Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, today filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of additional documents related to the complaints process at United States Customs and Border Protection.
January 19, 2017

Determining when an immigrant who has been convicted of a crime can be deported is a feat that has been described by federal judges as “far from clear,” “dizzying,” and “labyrinthine.” There is no...

January 12, 2017

Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to be Attorney General by President-elect Donald Trump, endured a 10-and-a-half-hour confirmation hearing this week where he answered questions on a...

January 12, 2017
A federal court in Seattle has granted nationwide class action status to a case seeking to protect the rights of thousands of asylum seekers pursuing protection from persecution in their home countries.
December 20, 2016

Entire jurisdictions in the United States have become so hostile to asylum seekers and their representatives that the U.S. government, and its immigration court system, is failing to deliver on...

December 7, 2016

Unlike in criminal court, where those charged with a crime often hire bail bondsmen and consequently only have to pay 10 percent of the total bail amount, immigrants detained by Immigration and...

December 1, 2016

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in what may be the most important immigration case on its docket this fall, Jennings v. Rodriguez. The case, which began as a class action filed in...

November 29, 2016

A federal judge ordered the Border Patrol to immediately cease its practice of refusing to provide basic amenities to people detained in Border Patrol holding cells in Tucson, Arizona. The judge...

November 18, 2016
Senator Sessions has led the fight against immigration reform at every turn during his 20 years in the Senate.
November 18, 2016
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to serve as Attorney General in President-Elect Trump’s new administration. The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
November 17, 2016

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Lynch v. Morales-Santana, a case that will decide whether the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) unlawfully favors mothers over fathers of...

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