Due Process and the Courts

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

Recent Features

All Due Process and the Courts Content

August 16, 2018
This report presents findings from the first empirical analysis of asylum adjudication in family detention. Drawing on government data from over 18,000 immigration court proceedings initiated between...
May 1, 2018
Over the last two decades, the federal government increasingly has utilized the criminal courts to punish people for immigration violations. This overview provides basic information about entry-...
October 24, 2016
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.
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...
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...
We filed a FOIA request seeking statistical information, as well as policies and guidance, regarding Board of Immigration Appeals standards for issuing stays of removal. Because the government failed to respond, we're filing a lawsuit.

With the end of prosecutorial discretion under the Trump administration, noncitizens living in the United States with a removal order face quick,...

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)—the...

February 19, 2018
In the case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself questions related to administrative closure. This move by Sessions could signal an attempt to end administrative closure altogether—which could force over 350,000 immigrants back into immigration court, exacerbating the challenges of an already overburdened immigration court system.
This lawsuit challenges the actions of immigration judges in Charlotte, North Carolina who have refused to conduct bond hearings for people who properly file bond motions with the Charlotte Immigration Court.
This lawsuit challenged 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.
February 27, 2019
This Practice Advisory provides legal and procedural arguments and strategies for attorneys representing noncitizens.
August 20, 2018
This Practice Advisory has information practitioners need to assess whether filing suit in federal court is the right option for challenging an employment-based petition denial.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides a general overview of motions to suppress, a tool used to prevent the introduction of evidence obtained by federal immigration officers in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and related provisions of federal law.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained through constitutional violations by state and local officers seeking to enforce immigration law.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings seek to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained by Customs and Border Protection officers.
February 13, 2017
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.
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 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).

March 21, 2019

Immigrants with even minor, dated criminal convictions will now be placed in mandatory detention without the possibility of a bond hearing—even if they have already served their time and been...

March 11, 2019

Many asylum seekers who travel to the United States seeking protection often receive something much less—they are arrested by immigration officials and provided no meaningful way to challenge...

February 28, 2019

The Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement tactics have made immigrants with final removal orders more vulnerable. That’s why it is more important than ever to have basic due process...

February 26, 2019

The Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers has been devastating, as vulnerable people are repeatedly denied access to the asylum process at ports of entry (POEs) along the U....

February 25, 2019

In some parts of the country, it has long been the practice for detained immigrants to appear for their immigration court hearings via video teleconference (“VTC”), rather than in-person. This is...

February 21, 2019

A FOIA request has forced the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to produce its comprehensive plan for reducing the immigration court backlog. Though partially redacted, the aim of the...

February 14, 2019

With the fate of their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in jeopardy, immigrants from Honduras and Nepal brought a class action lawsuit against the federal government this week to stop the Trump...

January 30, 2019

Immigration restrictionists have often repeated a bold and erroneous claim: that there is a serious problem of asylum seekers who come to the U.S. border and disappear once released from detention...

January 25, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to immediately launch a new policy to force asylum-seeking migrants to wait in Mexico for their immigration court hearing. Officially...

January 22, 2019

President Trump went in front of the public on Saturday and claimed he was going to propose a “compromise” to end the ongoing government shutdown. Instead of offering a bipartisan bill that would...

February 28, 2019
The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have increased immigrants’ vulnerability to swift deportation, making the ability to access safeguard more important than ever. The American Immigration Council and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit to disclose critical information about how the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets legal safeguards that would allow these individuals to seek reopening or reconsidering of their immigration cases, and prevent the irreparable harms that can result from deportation.
December 13, 2018
A federal district court in Seattle, Washington issued an order rejecting the government’s arguments that recent asylum seekers who enter the United States without immigration status are not entitled to constitutional protections.
November 21, 2018
The American Immigration Council announced today that it will focus on the critical need for access to an attorney when navigating the immigration system during its #GivingTuesday and year-end fundraising campaign starting November 27.
April 11, 2018
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), part of the Department of Justice (DOJ), announced its intention to cancel the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) despite its immensely positive impact on judicial efficiency and fundamental fairness, and Congress’ express instruction to continue such programming, along with the provision of funding in the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill, recently signed by the president.
August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
June 28, 2017
A U.S. District Court condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention.
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.
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.
March 21, 2019

Immigrants with even minor, dated criminal convictions will now be placed in mandatory detention without the possibility of a bond hearing—even if they have already served their time and been...

March 11, 2019

Many asylum seekers who travel to the United States seeking protection often receive something much less—they are arrested by immigration officials and provided no meaningful way to challenge...

February 28, 2019

The Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement tactics have made immigrants with final removal orders more vulnerable. That’s why it is more important than ever to have basic due process...

February 28, 2019
The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have increased immigrants’ vulnerability to swift deportation, making the ability to access safeguard more important than ever. The American Immigration Council and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit to disclose critical information about how the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets legal safeguards that would allow these individuals to seek reopening or reconsidering of their immigration cases, and prevent the irreparable harms that can result from deportation.
We filed a FOIA request seeking statistical information, as well as policies and guidance, regarding Board of Immigration Appeals standards for issuing stays of removal. Because the government failed to respond, we're filing a lawsuit.
February 27, 2019
This Practice Advisory provides legal and procedural arguments and strategies for attorneys representing noncitizens.
February 26, 2019

The Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers has been devastating, as vulnerable people are repeatedly denied access to the asylum process at ports of entry (POEs) along the U....

February 25, 2019

In some parts of the country, it has long been the practice for detained immigrants to appear for their immigration court hearings via video teleconference (“VTC”), rather than in-person. This is...

February 21, 2019

A FOIA request has forced the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to produce its comprehensive plan for reducing the immigration court backlog. Though partially redacted, the aim of the...

February 14, 2019

With the fate of their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in jeopardy, immigrants from Honduras and Nepal brought a class action lawsuit against the federal government this week to stop the Trump...

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