ICE Sued for Denying Access to Counsel in Detention Centers

Last Thursday, five non-profit organizations, represented by the ACLU, sued Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), accusing the agency of "making it difficult for lawyers to meet with detainees." Specifically, the lawsuit accuses ICE of preventing regular contact with detainees by not providing sufficient meeting spaces, preventing lawyers from scheduling calls and leaving messages for clients, and denying access to videoconferencing technology. The lawsuit focuses on detention centers in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. I do not have extensive personal experience with detention centers in Texas, Arizona, or Florida. I have represented detained individuals in all three states, but not with the frequency necessary to make me feel comfortable with corroborating the experiences outlined in the lawsuit (although I do believe them to be true based on my limited experience there). Louisiana is a different story. Most immigrants detained in Arkansas are transferred to

Board of Immigration Appeals Reminds Immigration Judges to Do Their Jobs While Still Finding a Way to Harm Immigrants

Matter of M-M-A-, published last week, basically restates the obvious Continuing a long tradition of dropping precedent-setting decisions on Friday, the Board of Immigration Appeals published Matter of M-M-A- , 28 I&N Dec. 494 (BIA 2022) last week. The Issue: When the government alleges that an applicant is ineligible for relief based on a frivolous asylum application, is the immigration judge required to make predicate findings of fact and conclusions of law to determine whether the requirements for a frivolous asylum application have been satisfied? The Holding: Yes . An immigration judge is bound to make findings of fact and conclusions of law as to whether the asylum application was frivolous in accordance with Matter of Y-L- , 24 I&N Dec. 151 (BIA 2007) . The Basic Facts: The decision involved an immigration judge's approval of an application for adjustment of status appealed by the Department of Homeland Security . The Department took the position that the applicant

Bogart, Small + Associates and Kedron Benham, Attorney-at-Law, PLLC Join Forces

  Fayetteville, AR (February 1, 2022) - The law firms of Bogart, Small + Associates and Kedron Benham, Attorney-at-Law, PLLC are proud to announce a merger effective February 15, 2022, that will unite the two firms under the Bogart, Small + Associates name. The merger combines two long-standing and respected Arkansas immigration law firms and enhances the experience and the capacity of both firms to represent members of Northwest Arkansas's growing immigrant community. "With this partnership, our goal is to be the most experienced and creative immigration law firm in Arkansas," said Nathan Bogart, a partner at Bogart, Small + Associates. "There is a shared set of values and goals that has connected both firms for years. Together, our firm's immigration attorneys will now collectively have nearly 60 years of experience." The combination aligns a depth of experience among the firms' respective attorneys who are already well-known throughout Arkansas and th

More New IJs in Memphis

The Memphis Immigration Court The Memphis Immigration Court has been busy during the pandemic. The court is in the process of expanding, adding additional space, more courtrooms, and new immigration judges. At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the court only had four active IJs (two had recently retired, but two from Louisville were reassigned to Memphis). As of the writing of this post, the Memphis court's website lists eleven IJs. My court calendar confirms a twelfth IJ who I have included in this list. Rumors are there will be more. Here's who's new: Judge Alisha Campos : Judge Campos was appointed to the bench last October. She graduated with a B.A. from Arkansas State and a law degree from the University of Houston. Uniquely, Judge Campos has practiced both as a trial attorney for the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, and as a private immigration attorney. Now she's hit the trifecta when it comes to removal proceed

Non-Detained Courts Remain Closed to Hearings Until At Least January 11th

This morning, the  Executive Office for Immigration Review , sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Justice tasked with running the immigration courts, announced that, unless otherwise specified, non-detained immigration courts that have not resumed hearings since the start of the pandemic will remain closed to hearings through at least January 8, 2021. This means the earliest they can reopen is January 11, 2021. There is no word on whether they will open that week or not, but we should continue receiving these updates until they do. For months, EOIR has been sending weekly updates, but this was the first we've received for a couple of weeks. NOTE: This announcement does not extend to every immigration court. It does not apply to detained courts, for example. There have also been some non-detained courts that have already resumed hearings in full or limited capacity. Most importantly, even the non-detained courts not holding hearings at the present expect all filing deadlines to be m

Immigration Courts Remained Closed to Non-Detained Hearings - Cannot Reopen Until At Least January 4th

For most of the pandemic, the Executive Office for Immigration Review has been extending the closure of most non-detained immigration courts for the purpose of conducting hearings (they've remained open to accept filings) each Monday. Every Monday, we get another e-mail extending the closure for one more week. This week the tradition continues, but they went ahead and just cancelled all non-detained hearings through the end of December. This means the earliest most immigration courts can resume hearings in non-detained matters is January 4, 2021. Hearings in non-detained cases at most immigration courts are postponed until at least  January 4, 2021 This announcement only applies to non-detained immigration courts that had not resumed hearings in non-detained matters. To our knowledge, this includes Memphis  and  Kansas City . There are some immigration courts that have resumed non-detained hearings and this announcement does not apply to them. It also does not apply to detained he

The End of Master Calendar Hearings?

To kick off December, the Executive Office for Immigration Review reminded us of the havoc the Trump Administration can continue to wreak in the closing days of this presidency. In a newly released policy memo , Director McHenry, has impressively complicated the lives of attorneys and respondents in the name of making removal proceedings more efficient. Here's the rundown: Lies, Damned Lies... EOIR based this memo on a number of straight up lies. Director McHenry makes the claim that most respondents in removal proceedings have representation, especially in asylum cases. In fact, the memo claims nearly 85% of respondents had representation in 2020. This is based on unpublished numbers maintained by EOIR and has not been verified by any outside observer. In reality, large percentages of respondents have been unrepresented over the course of the last two decades and access to counsel remains a challenge confronting the immigration courts and their stakeholders. The memo also claim