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

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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

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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

Non-Detained Courts Remain Closed Through 12/18

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Yesterday, 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 December 18, 2020. This means the earliest they can reopen is December 21, 2020 - the week of Christmas. Our weekly reminder that EOIR does not have a long-term strategy This has been going on for months and, every Monday, every EOIR registered attorney and other stakeholders receive a new e-mail extending the non-detained closure yet another week.  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 exp

Non-Detained Courts Remain Closed Through 8/21

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Today, the Department of Justice announced, through Twitter, that all non-detained immigration courts without an announced re-opening date, will remain closed through at least August 21, 2020. This means the earliest non-detained hearings will return is Monday, August 24, 2020. For anyone with any hearing scheduled on August 21st or earlier, that hearing is now cancelled. This announcement applies to the immigration courts in our region, including Memphis, Kansas City, and Dallas. It does not apply to the detained courts. The immigration courts in LaSalle and Oakdale remain open and continue to conduct hearings.  Keeping the immigration courts closed is the right decision. COVID continues to rage, particularly in the South and grouping dozens, or more, people together for immigration court hearings and forcing those people to travel hundreds of miles is not a good idea.  Regardless, the DOJ needs to get this situation figured out. There is no reason we should be receiving a new announc

New IJs in Memphis

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Even though the non-detained immigration courts remain closed to hearings and other in-person services at this time, that does not mean the immigration courts are not making moves. For those following the Memphis Immigration Court in particular, it is common knowledge that a pair of retirements last year had been causing a considerable amount of confusion and delay well before COVID-19. The retirements were not totally unexpected as the immigration courts in general have struggled   to retain judges under this administration. Regardless, chaos and confusion are the natural consequences when a court that has been operating for several years with 4 immigration judges is suddenly reduced down to two. Recently, the Department of Justice has moved to re-staff and re-structure the Memphis court. The first change came shortly into the pandemic when Immigration Judge Renae M. Hansell was promoted to the position of Assistant Chief Immigration Judge (“ACIJ”) for the Memphis court. It

Welcome 2020 & Getting Back to Work

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I have not been diligent in keeping this blog up to date. Not to make excuses, but I think a lot of that has to do with a desire not to spend my free time talking about the stuff I see every day at the office or on the road. They take a toll and I generally cope with them by pretending they're not happening when I finally get some time away from it though. 2019 was an eventful year. There were oral arguments in front of the circuit courts, at least one involving litigation I had been managing for years. They didn't go so well, but it was a major step forward and a tremendous learning experience. New detention centers opened up in our region, leading me to get to know the state of Louisiana better than I had ever planned on doing. Winning in court got harder. The asylum denial rate in the Memphis and LaSalle immigration courts hovers near 100%. But there were victories too. We won some reversals from the BIA and had success in most of our cancellation of removal cases.