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Immigration Law

NJ Lawsuit Targets Immigration Court Hearings During COVID-19

Rox Laird, Courthouse News Service, July 31, 2020

"New Jersey immigration lawyers say in a lawsuit filed Friday against the U.S. Justice Department that required in-person immigration hearings unnecessarily puts their lives at risk during the coronavirus pandemic and seek an injunction barring in-court proceedings.

The Newark Immigration Court was closed to in-court proceedings in March following the Covid-19 outbreak, and after an immigration attorney and a staff member of the immigration prosecution office died of the virus.

The Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, the federal agency responsible for directing and managing the immigration court system, has since reversed that.

On June 24, without advance notice to immigration lawyers, EOIR announced on Twitter that it would reopen the Newark Immigration Court July 13 and resume hearings in cases involving non-detained immigrants.

Friday’s suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey argues that the decision puts immigration attorneys at risk of contracting and spreading the disease."