Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Immigration Law

Immigration Judges Call for 'Safe and Fair' Hearings During Pandemic

NAIJ, Mar. 30, 2020

"During this historic and unprecedented pandemic, the immigration courts are in the midst of a crisis created by EOIR. One current immigration judge who is a U.S. military veteran summarized the state of affairs:

"I don't say this lightly, but EOIR has demonstrated that they need to be gutted and rebuilt from the ashes. I've never witnessed an utter lack of concern for people like I have here. In my former life, we treated captured Taliban and ISIS with more humanity. Moreover, I've never seen worse leadership. A crisis usually brings good and bad to the light. We have nothing but darkness." --3/26/2020 Communication to NAIJ from Immigration Judge (Name Withheld)

This judge’s remarks aptly capture what we are all experiencing at EOIR in the face of this pandemic. EOIR’s failure to take prompt, appropriate and sufficient action on court closures has created a dangerous environment placing at risk the health and lives of our judges, court staff, practitioners, detained respondents, and all individuals who interface with the court process as well as the broader community.

... EOIR’s refusal to close detained courts causes a cascade of social interaction that puts all of us at risk.

... There is no safe way to run the detained immigration courts during a pandemic because of the amount of social interactions that the courts require.

...  NAIJ has several other specific proposals designed to minimize social interactions and maintain a fair proceeding, set out [below]."