Federal Courts/Jurisdiction

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

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Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
Publication Date: 
October 23, 2013
Section 336(b) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b), gives a district court jurisdiction to intervene in a case where USCIS has failed to make a decision on the naturalization application within 120 days of the applicant’s “examination” by USCIS. This Practice Advisory discusses the nuts and bolts of bringing a suit under INA § 336(b). It also discusses when attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act are available.
Publication Date: 
April 29, 2013
This Practice Advisory examines how the courts and the agencies apply the fugitive disentitlement doctrine which arises in the immigration context when courts of appeals use the doctrine to dismiss petitions for review and when government agencies invoke the doctrine to deny FOIA requests. This Practice Advisory examines how the courts and the agencies apply the doctrine in these contexts.
Publication Date: 
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.

Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.

Publication Date: 
April 20, 2005
This Practice Advisory addresses situations in which a court might excuse a late-filed petition for review and discusses other administrative and federal court options for remedying the failure to timely file a petition for review. The Advisory also provides an overview of 28 U.S.C. § 1631, which authorizes courts to transfer a case to cure a lack of jurisdiction when an action is filed in the wrong federal court.
June 30, 2022

Almost a year after the Supreme Court allowed a federal judge in Texas to order the Biden administration to restart the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), the Supreme Court ruled in...

May 13, 2022

Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, could have damaging effects to immigrant rights secured through the courts. The...

March 9, 2022

President Biden has nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the United States Supreme Court. With nearly a decade as a federal judge, Judge Jackson’s...

September 16, 2021

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday stayed a significant part of an earlier decision by the Northern District of Texas that would have blocked the implementation of the Biden...

June 2, 2021

In two unanimous decisions, the Supreme Court has rejected rules that provided protections for immigrants. The rejected rules came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a 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 18, 2021

The Second Circuit has found that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) must publish immigration decisions, reversing an earlier federal district court decision. The case challenged the...

December 18, 2020

People who need access to their government immigration records scored a huge victory in the Nightingale et al. v. USCIS case on December 17. A judge ruled that a nationwide class of individuals...

December 14, 2020

The Trump administration secretly implemented one of its most horrific attacks on America’s long tradition of asylum—holding asylum seekers in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody...

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 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.
July 1, 2016
The U.S. Government has placed unnecessary hurdles in front of asylum seekers who are attempting to file asylum applications within the required time period.
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).
Last modified: 
December 16, 2022
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
Practitioners who challenge delays in visa processing often face a motion to dismiss based on the consular nonreviewability doctrine. This practice tip examines the scope of the doctrine. It provides arguments, with supporting documentation, to oppose common situations that the government claims are final, nonreviewable decisions.
June 30, 2022
The U.S. Supreme Court allows the Biden administration’s efforts to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols—an illegal Trump-era policy that sent thousands of people seeking humanitarian protection to dangerous areas of Mexico to await their asylum hearings.
May 22, 2024

The Department of Justice asked a court to partially terminate the decades-old agreement that protects the rights of immigrant children earlier this month. The government argues that the Flores...

March 25, 2024

The Supreme Court issued an important victory for noncitizens seeking cancellation of removal and the principle of judicial review of agency action on March 19. And despite the current court’s...

December 15, 2023

Families are complicated. Especially during the holidays, that’s something we can all agree on. But most of us can’t – or will never have to – imagine being forcibly separated from our closest...

August 30, 2023

The Biden administration’s humanitarian parole program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (CHNV) went on trial last week. The trial, held in a federal court in Texas, was the...

July 7, 2023

Written by Kelly Chauvin, Summer 2023 Legal Intern for the American Immigration Council Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a section of immigration law that forbids “encourag[ing] or...

May 24, 2023

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case that asks the Court to overturn Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council—an influential decision that requires courts to defer to federal...

May 22, 2023

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled last week that a transgender woman from Guatemala did not need to jump through an additional hoop—filing a new motion with the Board of Immigration...

February 17, 2023

In December 2022, the Supreme Court stepped in to keep Title 42 (the pandemic health policy that has allowed the United States to carry out over 2.5 million expulsions since March 2020) in effect...

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