Immigration Courts

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.

Recent Features

All Immigration Courts Content

Publication Date: 
November 29, 2021
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
Publication Date: 
June 8, 2021
The Council expressed concerns about the Biden administration's plans for a new type of expedited asylum proceedings.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
January 28, 2021
This analysis of data provided by the federal government reveals that 83% of all nondetained immigrants with completed or pending removal cases attended all their hearings from 2008 to 2018.
Publication Date: 
October 6, 2020
This fact sheet provides an overview of withholding of removal, including the basics of seeking protection in the United States, eligibility requirements, the application process, and data on...
Publication Date: 
July 30, 2019
Comprehensive analyses of the government’s own data show that in the vast majority of situations, immigrants placed into removal proceedings appear for all of their court hearings.
Publication Date: 
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...
Publication Date: 
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...
Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
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...
The Council seeks records from immigration courts about how they process record requests and comply with proactive disclosure requirements. This information will help advocates ensure that noncitizens in removal proceedings have access to their records and that the courts are complying with record disclosure requirements.
This FOIA suit seeks to compel EOIR to provide information about the immigration courts’ practice of advancing the date of immigrants’ hearings without much notice to them or their attorneys.
Last modified: 
April 14, 2023
Publication Date: 
March 23, 2023
In this amicus brief the Council urges the Supreme Court to correct the BIA's mistake in not applying that criminal "rule of lenity" when interpreting the aggravated felony deportation ground.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks records from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) about its practice of moving up the date of immigrants’ individual hearings with little to no notice to their lawyers.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks information about the immigration courts' implementation of the Dent v. Holder decision and how ICE is complying.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks to uncover information about the hiring process for the position of Assistant Chief Immigration Judge (ACIJ) and the influence of these judges over the immigration courts.
This FOIA suit seeks to compel ICE to release information about conditions, treatment, and outcomes in eight immigration detention facilities in the U.S. South.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was filed to learn more about trends in the Board of Immigration Appeal’s treatment of motions to reconsider orders of removal.
The Council filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rule that would drastically increase fees across-the-board in high-stakes immigration proceedings.
Public information about the location and expansion of these courts and centers is critically important.
Last modified: 
October 20, 2023
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2021
This practice advisory by the Council and partners provides an overview of the Niz-Chavez v. Garland decision and its impact on eligibility for cancellation of removal; eligibility for post-conclusion voluntary departure and broader applications of the decision.
Last modified: 
August 22, 2023
Publication Date: 
August 22, 2023
This practice advisory looks into the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court issued in Pugin v. Garland, 143 S. Ct. 1833 (2023). This immigration decision addressed the generic definition of the obstruction of justice aggravated felony ground at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(S).
Last modified: 
April 26, 2023
Publication Date: 
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.
Last modified: 
April 17, 2023
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
This practice advisory explains 1) the ways to submit a FOIA request for a client’s immigration records, or A-File, 2) provides suggestions for avoiding agency rejections of the requests, and 3) identifies issues related to the Nightingale injunction that class counsel are monitoring.
Last modified: 
December 13, 2022
Publication Date: 
December 13, 2022
Our comprehensive guide on obtaining detention records provides a brief overview of FOIA requirements, information about the types of records government agencies possess, tips about how to request those records, and an overview of what to expect after submitting the request.
Last modified: 
November 24, 2022
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2022
This Practice Advisory provides information for filing a delay action in federal district court under the Mandamus Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for an asylum applicant who is awaiting an interview or a final decision on their affirmative asylum claim. It discusses the required elements of a successful APA and mandamus actions and jurisdictional hurdles. The advisory also addresses asylum-specific case law and arguments, including USCIS’s use of the “Last-In, First-Out” processing and statistics showing the growing asylum backlog.
Publication Date: 
February 27, 2019
This Practice Advisory provides legal and procedural arguments and strategies for attorneys representing noncitizens.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
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...

January 31, 2024

Immigrants are now far more likely to face the complexities of the immigration court system alone, without an attorney. As of December 2023, only 30% of immigrants with pending cases have secured...

January 18, 2024

A new memo issued last month by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) lays out improved guidelines for immigration court cases involving children. The memo is a welcome acknowledgment...

September 28, 2023

After weeks of failed negotiations on spending, Congress has less than a week left to avert a potential government shutdown. Members of the House Republicans’ Freedom Caucus have refused to pass...

September 14, 2023

The Department of Justice has proposed a new rule to protect immigration judges’ ability to administratively close removal proceedings and control their ever-expanding dockets. The proposed rule,...

March 30, 2023

Written by Emma Winger and Raul Pinto of the American Immigration Council The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) published a decision last week seeking to address a seemingly basic question: what...

March 17, 2023

Immigration agencies have a problem with transparency. With an immigration system as complex as ours and Freedom of Information Act offices that are chronically underfunded, it’s no surprise that...

October 27, 2022

Every year at the end of October, legal service providers come together to celebrate Pro Bono Week. It is a dedicated opportunity to acknowledge the amazing work that our volunteers do—work that...

August 23, 2022

Written by Emily Creighton of the American Immigration Council and Jennifer Whitlock of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  It might seem like a straightforward statistic: 44% of...

August 3, 2022

Thousands of immigration court cases have been dismissed this year for an astonishing reason: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has failed to file the most basic paperwork with the courts....

June 17, 2024
In a victory for immigrant communities and families, on June 17 a federal district court in Iowa issued a preliminary injunction to block SF 2340, one of the worst, most far-reaching immigration laws ever passed in the state of Iowa.
October 13, 2023
On October 13, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California will hear arguments in Al Otro Lado and Haitian Bridge Alliance v. Mayorkas, a federal lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s unlawful policy of turning back people seeking asylum without a CBP One appointment.
September 8, 2023
On Thursday, the Biden administration proposed to rescind a Trump administration rule that stripped authority from immigration judges to manage their own dockets; here is our response.
October 13, 2022
Several legal services organizations filed a lawsuit today against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for unlawfully preventing attorneys from communicating with immigrants detained in four detention facilities in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona.
July 15, 2021
Attorney General Merrick Garland today restored immigration judges’ ability to administratively close deportation cases.
March 19, 2020
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court to compel the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy to release records about the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s hiring procedures for appellate immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals Members. The lawsuit seeks to understand current hiring procedures for the BIA—the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws—after reports came to light of anti-immigrant bias in the hiring process.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 17, 2024
In a victory for immigrant communities and families, on June 17 a federal district court in Iowa issued a preliminary injunction to block SF 2340, one of the worst, most far-reaching immigration laws ever passed in the state of Iowa.
The Council seeks records from immigration courts about how they process record requests and comply with proactive disclosure requirements. This information will help advocates ensure that noncitizens in removal proceedings have access to their records and that the courts are complying with record disclosure requirements.
Last modified: 
November 7, 2023
Publication Date: 
November 7, 2023
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted this comment in support of the proposed rule, "Appellate Procedures and Decisional Finality in Immigration...
Last modified: 
October 20, 2023
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2021
This practice advisory by the Council and partners provides an overview of the Niz-Chavez v. Garland decision and its impact on eligibility for cancellation of removal; eligibility for post-conclusion voluntary departure and broader applications of the decision.
October 13, 2023
On October 13, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California will hear arguments in Al Otro Lado and Haitian Bridge Alliance v. Mayorkas, a federal lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s unlawful policy of turning back people seeking asylum without a CBP One appointment.
September 8, 2023
On Thursday, the Biden administration proposed to rescind a Trump administration rule that stripped authority from immigration judges to manage their own dockets; here is our response.
Last modified: 
August 22, 2023
Publication Date: 
August 22, 2023
This practice advisory looks into the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court issued in Pugin v. Garland, 143 S. Ct. 1833 (2023). This immigration decision addressed the generic definition of the obstruction of justice aggravated felony ground at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(S).
This FOIA suit seeks to compel EOIR to provide information about the immigration courts’ practice of advancing the date of immigrants’ hearings without much notice to them or their attorneys.
Last modified: 
April 26, 2023
Publication Date: 
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.
Last modified: 
April 17, 2023
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
This practice advisory explains 1) the ways to submit a FOIA request for a client’s immigration records, or A-File, 2) provides suggestions for avoiding agency rejections of the requests, and 3) identifies issues related to the Nightingale injunction that class counsel are monitoring.

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