Immigration Law

How can we expect our clients to comply with address change rules when EOIR won't?

Posted by Prof. Jacqueline Stevens, Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - EOIR Fails to File Change of Its Own Chicago Address With Itself 

"The EOIR issued an official announcement on December 1, 2011 indicating a move on December 7. but it never bothered to change its own web page to reflect this.


The above is a screen shot from the court listings on the Executive Office of Immigration Review web page for January 3, 2012, almost one month after the courts moved to...


Well, it's sort of the correct address. The EOIR announcement does not explain the complicated scheduling for the detained dockets. Most of these hearings will be moved to the Van Buren address but some individual hearings for the detained docket heard by Eliza Klein will continue to be held at the old address at 536 Clark Street, something that the EOIR has not publicized.

The point of pointing this out is not simply to provide accurate information to people doing google searches or to embarrass the EOIR, which has not updated its webpage since November, 2011, despite a federal regulation requiring the immediate posting of accurate agency information. In addition, it is to highlight how easy it is for people to disseminate inaccurate addresses without this being evidence of fraud or deceit. If a respondent does not file a change of address form within five days of moving, the result could be enforcement of a deportation order in absentia.

The fact that the federal government cannot maintain its own accurate address with itself suggests that deporting people who fail to do this is, well, a bit kooky.

Perhaps the EOIR told respondents where to show up? Maybe, but not according to the pro se respondents who appeared in the court hearings I attended today. They had run the 8+ long blocks from the old EOIR address in 20 degree weather, a fact that came out when the immigration judge asked a master calendar group to make sure to keep the court posted on any change of address. One guy said he received the notice about the hearing today but it had given a different address. When the IJ said the court had mailed out 17,000 announcements of their new location, the response from the five men was that they never received it and one asked what he should do in case the court moves again before his next hearing. (The IJ said she would make a note of the problem and was quite understanding of their plight.)

Also due to the move, the ICE attorney didn't have most of the files, repeatedly responding to inquiries from the IJ by stating that the office was in chaos. Not that the immigration attorneys were much better.

The IJ showed patience with the ICE attorney and the respondents' attorneys -- many of whom also were unprepared -- and simply pushed things back. (In one case it was because the attorney of record was in jail.) The calendar is so clogged up that cases were moved into late 2013 and even 2014, the delays perhaps not that different from ICE using its discretion to close the cases, a procedure that was not implemented once today, even though most of the respondents lacked any criminal records and many had entered legally and were pursuing adjustments of their status through Citizenship and Immigration Services."