Due Process and the Courts

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April 1, 2012
Proportionality is the notion that the severity of a sanction should not be excessive in relation to the gravity of an offense. The principle is ancient and nearly uncontestable, and its operation...
March 25, 2010
Years before the U.S. Supreme Court ended racial segregation in U.S. schools with Brown v. Board of Education, a federal circuit court in California ruled that segregation of school children...
September 1, 2006
Access to an independent judiciary with the power to hold the government accountable in its dealings with individuals is a founding principle of the United States. In contrast, imagine a system...
December 1, 2003
Children who travel unaccompanied to the United States experience not only the trauma of family separation and the frequently predatory behavior of the traffickers who bring them, but also harsh...
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.
November 29, 2013
At issue in the case is whether the Constitution and the immigration laws allow an immigration judge to enter a removal order without considering whether removal would be a disproportionate penalty under the circumstances. The amicus brief by the Council and the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project tells the stories of five individuals who either already have or soon will face the extreme penalty of deportation and a permanent reentry bar for minor or nonviolent crimes committed years earlier. The men and women featured in the brief share many attributes: all were lawful permanent residents; all established significant ties to this country; all left (or will leave) behind U.S. citizen family members; all committed nonviolent crimes; all have demonstrated rehabilitation; and none was afforded the opportunity to explain to the immigration judge why forcible removal from the country was unjustified under the circumstances. The brief throws into stark relief the real life human consequences of stripping judges of the ability to consider the totality of the circumstances before entering an order of removal.
The American Immigration Council and co-counsel Public Citizen filed a lawsuit on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) seeking information about complaints alleging immigration judge misconduct.
January 4, 2013
The American Immigration Council, working with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, has repeatedly challenged the “departure bar,” a regulation that precludes noncitizens from filing a motion to reopen or reconsider a removal case after they have left the United States. The departure bar not only precludes reopening or reconsideration based on new evidence or arguments that may affect the outcome of a case, but also deprives immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals of authority to adjudicate motions to remedy deportations wrongfully executed, whether intentionally or inadvertently, by DHS. We argue that the regulation conflicts with the statutory right to pursue reopening and, as interpreted by the government, is an impermissible restriction of congressionally granted authority to adjudicate immigration cases.
February 14, 2012
The Council and AILA submitted comments on the USCIS Interim Memo “The Role of Private Attorneys and Other Representatives; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapters 12 and 15; AFM Update AD11-42.” The comments recommended, among other things, that USCIS take additional steps to clarify the role of attorneys and the treatment of attorneys’ written submissions; to address continued limitations on attorney seating; to expand the requirements related to waivers of representation; and to improve the complaint process.

The American Immigration Council, with co-counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to compel the release of records relating to noncitizens’ access to counsel.

August 8, 2011
In this letter, the Council and AILA urged ICE to address reports of restrictions on access to counsel in a range of interview settings. These restrictions, documented in a nation-wide survey of immigration attorneys, included complete bars to attorney presence during ICE interviews and limits on participation when attorneys are permitted to be present. Attorneys also reported that ICE officers often were antagonistic toward attorneys.
December 21, 2012
This Practice Advisory contains practical and legal suggestions for individuals seeking to return to the United States after they have prevailed on a petition for review or an administrative motion to reopen or reconsider to the immigration court or Board of Immigration Appeals.
June 12, 2012
This Practice Advisory discusses Dent v. Holder, requiring the government to turn over copies of documents in an A-file where removability is contested, and offers strategies for making document requests pursuant to the INA and due process.
April 29, 2011

This Practice Advisory discusses the procedures and requirements for filing a petition for rehearing, rehearing en banc or hearing en banc in the court of appeals.

August 1, 2009
This Practice Advisory presents a short introduction to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), which authorizes U.S. district courts to appoint counsel to represent financially eligible individuals in habeas corpus actions brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
April 13, 2009
This Practice Advisory explains the federal rules authorizing electronic filing in federal court; describes how to file documents in federal court using the Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) System; and outlines how to access electronic documents through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). The Advisory discusses restrictions on electronic access to court documents in immigration cases.
August 5, 2008
The Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the courts of appeals to review “final” removal orders. This Practice Advisory addresses whether a removal decision issued by an Immigration Judge or the BIA is a “final” removal order for purposes of federal court review.
June 1, 2008

This Practice Advisory offers a short introduction to habeas corpus, addressing when and how a petitioner may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the immigration context.

April 5, 2006
This Practice Advisory discusses the changes that the REAL ID Act made to INA § 242(a)(2)(B) and outlines an analysis for whether §242(a)(2)(B) applies to a particular case. It also discusses federal court jurisdiction over discretionary decisions after the REAL ID Act in the removal and non-removal contexts. The government has asserted this jurisdictional bar in employment-based, family-based, and humaritarian-based immigration cases.
June 7, 2005
On May 11, 2005, the REAL ID Act was signed into law. This Act contains numerous provisions related to federal court review of immigration cases. This Practice Advisory discusses the provisions of the Act that pertain to judicial review of immigration decisions under the INA.
April 27, 2005
This Practice Advisory discusses the types of Affirmance Without Option (AWO) challenges that have failed and those that remain available. The Advisory also includes a chart identifying the primary cases in each circuit and how they have decided various AWO issues.
November 16, 2020

A judge has ruled that recent changes to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that were a veiled attempt to gut the program are invalid because Chad Wolf—the acting secretary of the...

November 2, 2020

Update: On November 5, the Seven Circuit Court of appeals placed an administrative stay on the district court’s ruling, restoring the public charge rule at least temporarily. The Trump...

October 29, 2020

Over 60,000 people at the southern border have been forced to return to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. As...

October 28, 2020

Once a year, National Pro Bono Week celebrates the pro bono work of lawyers, paralegals, and law students. Pro bono legal services—which come at no cost—are integral for many people otherwise left...

October 13, 2020

At a time when tensions over race in the United States are high, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in an October 8 memo that it will cancel all diversity and inclusion trainings for...

September 16, 2020

The Trump administration’s justification for ending administrative closure is on thin ice. A new report casts doubt on key arguments presented in a proposed regulation that would end the practice...

September 14, 2020

In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for four countries can proceed. The fate of nearly 250...

August 27, 2020

Communication with the outside world is crucial for people in jail. This includes individuals facing deportation while detained in immigration detention centers, who do not have the right to court...

August 12, 2020

Asylum seekers got a major win in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. In Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a...

August 4, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, immigration courts around the country remain in turmoil. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) initially...

June 27, 2016
A federal court has granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the federal government's failure to provide children in immigration court with lawyers in their deportation hearings. Several thousand children are estimated to be members of the class.
June 27, 2016
A federal district court unsealed some of the photographs central to ongoing litigation challenging deplorable and unconstitutional conditions in Border Patrol detention facilities in the agency’s Tucson Sector. The court also allowed the Arizona Republic newspaper to intervene in the case to argue for the release of the documents.
June 23, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v.

June 4, 2016
Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
May 23, 2016

shington D.C. - The American Immigration Council (Council) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have teamed up on a lawsuit against the U.S.

April 18, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas.

April 5, 2016

Washington, D.C.—Last week, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Vartelas v.

May 27, 2021
The amicus brief in Ayom v. Garland urges the eighth circuit to affirm that mandatory detention has constitutional limits, and reject the endorsement of prolonged mandatory detention for people in removal proceedings.
May 21, 2021

The American Immigration Council and over 150 organizations supporting people in proceedings before the Immigration Courts or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) sent a letter to the Executive...

May 20, 2021
This report analyzes the Biden administration's 100 days progress in reforming immigration enforcement and recommendations for how to best move forward.
May 19, 2021

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...

May 18, 2021
The Council urged the Biden administration to improve MPP wind down processing and toy move ahead with a second phase to include all individuals subjected to MPP.
May 13, 2021

The Biden administration announced its first round of immigration judge appointments on May 6. Unfortunately, the immigration court appointments do not show the commitment to diversity that ...

April 30, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week in Niz-Chavez v. Garland that immigration law requires the government to give noncitizens complete notice about the initiation of their immigration court...

March 5, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court published a new decision on March 4 that will make it harder—if not impossible—for many longtime immigrants to fight deportation. The case, Pereida v. Wilkson, abandons...

February 26, 2021

The stakes in immigration court could not be higher—many people face the possibility of being permanently torn away from their families and communities in the United States. Others seeking...

February 26, 2021
This fact sheet draws from original data gathered from hundreds of community-organizations around the country and provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate...

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