Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases
With refugees and other immigrants facing rapidly escalating challenges, the Appleseed Network released a major new resource to help new and experienced attorneys navigate the complicated U.S. immigration court system and save immigrants from deportation, exile and persecution. The new Practice Guide, titled “Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases,” is a product of the Immigration Justice Collaboration of Appleseed. The Guide provides an overview of immigration court proceedings, as well as specific sections on working with clients in detention, obtaining client documents from the government, pre-hearing communications with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), dealing with interpretation and videoconferencing challenges and reporting immigration judge and DHS attorney misconduct. The Guide also provides several template and sample documents to assist attorneys in these cases. To learn more, please download the full report.
There are few things a lawyer can do more profound than helping an immigrant avoid deportation.
From saving a refugee from persecution to keeping a long-time U.S. resident from exile,
the professional and personal rewards are tremendous.
Yet there are a great number of challenges in immigration court,
a venue unfamiliar to many litigators and other pro bono lawyers.
This guide is intended
to supplement the basic rules and procedures of immigration court
with tips from experienced practitioners.
Selected Tips from the guide:
- Ease into discussing traumatic events. Move slowly, take breaks – talking about trauma in detail can be incredibly hard for your client.
- Preserve your client’s rights by making proper requests for documentation. File an FOIA even if your client indicates that s/he has certain documents. Consider documenting all attempts to communicate with DHS and start the process as soon as possible after the initial client meeting.
- Consider the availability and impact of interpretation. Find out why we prefer simultaneous interpretation and how to evaluate your interpreter.
- Know the challenges introduced by video teleconferencing. Learn why Appleseed finds video teleconferencing (VTC) significantly problematic. Check our tips for objecting to VTC and mitigating the potential disadvantages of VTC.
Addressing immigration judge and DHS misconduct
In Assembly Line Injustice, we found a “deport-in-all cases culture” propagated by DHS attorneys in many immigration courts. This guide dedicates an entire section to reporting misconduct by immigration judges and DHS attorneys – from communication failures to unethical behavior to harassment and threats from the bench. Review options, identify next actionable steps and understand what to expect in the process. Read examples from expert practitioners who took action.
- American Immigration Counsel, Immigration Policy Center, How the United States Immigration System Works, A Fact Sheet
- The American Immigration Lawyers Association
- CLINIC, Catholic Legal ImmigrationNetwork, Inc.
- Immigration Advocates Network, Pro Bono Resource Center
- Immigration Judge Benchbook
- Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
Appleseed Publications on Immigration, Refugees and Deportation
- A DREAM Deferred: From DACA to Citizenship: Lessons from DACA for Advocates and Policymakers
- Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Reparation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors
- Core Principles: Child Refugees in the United States
- Protecting Assets & Child Custody in the Face of Deportation: A Guide for Practitioners Assisting Immigrant Families
This Guide should help every attorney do a better job in immigration court—and encourage more attorneys to do pro bono representation in these courts.Steve Schulman
Appleseed Immigration Collaborative is a project of the Chicago, Texas, South Carolina, Nebraska and National Appleseed Centers and Akin Gump
Malcolm Rich, Executive Director of Chicago Appleseed
Bert Brandenburg, President, Appleseed
Steven Schulman, Marla Axelrod, Andrew Casillas, Richard Cella, Nicholas Gregory, Amy Poyer and Rebecca Rosen. Pro Bono Counsel to Appleseed, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Children and deportation
Our collaborative is working to gather key resources for attorneys and advocates to protect children affected and impacted by deportation. As we collect Power of Attorney/Guardianship forms and reference links for each state, as well as tools relevant across the US and Mexico, we’ll post them below. Please bookmark this site and return often. To report broken links or share updates, please contact email@example.com.